Football News

Antonio Cassano: Jorginho agrees it would be a scandal if he wins the Ballon d’Or over Lionel Messi

By Ben Green

Published: 12:19, 19 August 2021 | Updated: 18:36, 10 September 2021

Champions League medalist and Euro 2020 winner Jorginho does not believe he should win this year’s Ballon d’Or over Lionel Messi, former Italy international Antonio Cassano has revealed.

The Chelsea midfielder has had a 2021 to remember so far, guiding both the Londoners and Italy to continental success, in which Thomas Tuchel’s side won the European Cup at Manchester City’s expense, and Roberto Mancini’s national team beat England in the Euro 2020 final.

Jorginho played a star role in both cup-winning campaigns, covering the most distance (86.6km), winning the most fouls (19) and registering the most interceptions (25) of any player in Euro 2020, while also making the most tackles (26) in the Champions League.

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His efforts have encouraged eulogies from far and wide, but it has been closest to home where his biggest admirers have been advocating for his name to be in the mix for Ballon d’Or success, with both Maurizio Sarri and Lorenzo Insigne tipping him for the coveted prize.

“If he wins the European Championship, he is a candidate for the Ballon d’Or,” Sarri said prior to Italy’s win over England. “He makes everything seem easy, it’s his greatness. When I went to Chelsea, we managed to snatch him from Manchester City. Now, he’s captain of the club.”

Lorenzo Insigne also added his own assessment: “I’m not the one deciding if he deserves the Ballon d’Or, but I hope he’ll be shortlisted, he deserves so, he is a great player. I call him the professor and we [the Italian national team] are all happy to play with him.”

Despite the ringing endorsements coming from his adopted nation, one Italian does not believe Jorginho should be in the Ballon d’Or conversation, with Cassano going as far as to say it would be a “scandal” if the midfield metronome claimed the award off six-time winner Messi.

Cassano revealed on the Twitch channel of Christian Vieri: “Remember when I said any journalist who voted for Jorginho as Ballon d’Or should have his licence taken away?

“Well, I was in Formentera with my family and just as I sat down, I felt a touch.

“‘Antonio, you’re great!’ the voice says.

“I turn around to ask who he was, he took off his glasses and mask, and it was Jorginho!

“I told him: ‘Jorgi, can you believe the scandal if they should give you the Ballon d’Or and not to Messi?’

“He replied that he absolutely agreed with me, Messi should always win it.”

Jorginho has not stopped his summer of medal-hoovering success, recently bossing the midfield as Chelsea also claimed the Super Cup over Villarreal, in which he scored in the shootout after regulation time failed to separate the Champions League and Europa League winners.

By doing so, Jorginho, alongside club and international team-mate Emerson, have become the first players to win the Champions League, European Championship and Super Cup all in one year. And he even marked the start of the 2021/22 Premier League season with a 3-0 thrashing over fellow Londoners Crystal Palace.