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Lorenzo Insigne: Chelsea’s “professor” Jorginho deserves Ballon d’Or recognition

By Ben Green

Published: 10:56, 1 July 2021

Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne believes international team-mate Jorginho deserves Ballon d’Or recognition.

Jorginho, 29, enjoyed an impressive 2020/21 campaign at Chelsea, forming an indispensable part of Thomas Tuchel’s midfield as the club won the Champions League, reached the FA Cup final and secured a top-four finished in the Premier League.

The Brazilian-born Italy international topped the scoring charts for the Blues in the English top flight, netting seven penalties, but it was his ball-procuring exploits, swiftness in possession and ability to link the play that largely caught the eye and proved crucial to the club’s ambitions.

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Following a underwhelming start to his Chelsea career, in which he was very much a marmite figure during that first season under Maurizio Sarri, the deep-lying playmaker has shifted the perception on the terraces and is now a fan favourite, with his performances filtering through to Euro 2020.

Under Roberto Mancini for Italy, he has formed the backbone of an impressive midfield trident that includes Nicolo Barella and oscillates between one of Manuel Locatelli or Marco Verratti, helping Gli Azzurri reach the quarter-finals, where a date with Belgium awaits them on Friday.

Insigne, Napoli’s one-club talisman, has also played his part in the journey to Euro 2020’s last-eight, but he was quick to recognise the influence of his team-mates this summer, believing Jorginho’s form at both club and international level should see him recognised for the Ballon d’Or.

He told a press conference: “We have quality players. You talked about Jorginho and it’s correct.

“He had spent some fantastic years at Chelsea and I am proud to have him in our team.

“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 are all happy to play with him.”

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Fabio Capello: I’ve changed my opinion on Jorginho

Chelsea fans were not alone in their opinion of Jorginho during those formative stages at Stamford Bridge, in which he transferred from Napoli in 2018 with a pressure-laden £50m price tag and a burgeoning reputation as a game-deciding midfielder, with Italy immortal Fabio Capello among the early skeptics.

However, the Champions League-winning tactician has since reassessed his opinion of Jorginho’s game, believing the 32-capped Italy international is now the nation’s midfield fulcrum and can understand why the Blues initially couriered a king’s ransom to Campania for his services three years ago.

Speaking to Corriere dello Sport, Capello said: “Jorginho, he’s Mancini’s main man. He was a player who didn’t convince me completely.

“But in the matches I saw him live, I watched him carefully, and he is a midfielder who knows how to stay on the field and direct the team.

“The fact that Italy didn’t concede many goals is due to his ability to intervene at the right time in the actions of the opponents.”

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