Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has admitted he wanted to ’embarrass’ the Chelsea fans who initially doubted his ability at Stamford Bridge, particularly those who labelled him ‘Maurizio Sarri’s son’.
The 29-year-old moved to Chelsea in 2018 from Napoli following Sarri’s appointment in the Stamford Bridge dugout, rejecting a move to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the process, but it was not a smooth transition to Premier League football.
Today the metronomic midfielder is arguably Chelsea’s most influential player, helping the club clinch a Premier League top-four finish last season, reach the FA Cup final, win the Champions League, and more recently, lift the European Super Cup.
However, things were not always quite so rosy in west London, with Jorginho initially struggling to acclimatise to the hustle and bustle of Premier League football, with the Italian’s initial teething problems translating to the dugout as well, as Sarri came under fire early on.
The 2016/17 Serie A Coach of the Year would last just one year in English football, winning the Europa League in that time, but Jorginho has gone on to establish himself as one of the finest midfielders, not only in the Premier League, but across the continent.
There have been calls from Italy coach Roberto Mancini for Jorginho to win the Ballon d’Or after lifting this summer’s European Championship, and even an endorsement from Sarri himself, but it was not too long ago the midfielder was pining to ’embarrass’ the fans who initially doubted him at Chelsea.
“My start at Chelsea made me miss [Napoli] even more,” Jorginho wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “We all remember what they were saying, right? I was too slow. I was too weak. I was Sarri’s son. Man, it made me so angry.
“But listen, they underestimated me. You see, I’ve had a turbulent start at every club I’ve been with. Every club. It’s incredible. When I came to Verona, nobody wanted me. They sent me on loan to the fourth division. Nobody wanted me there either.
“But I kept working and I won respect. I went back to Verona and we went up to Serie A. I had a hard year at Napoli, too, and then Sarri came and changed everything.
“So the Chelsea stuff? Puh! I just used the criticism as fuel. I was thinking, These people are going to be embarrassed.
“And now I’m sitting here with a Europa League title and a Champions League title. So to all the critics, I just want to say one thing.
“Thank you. Really, thank you all.”