Football News

Maurizio Sarri: Italy’s “misunderstood” midfielder is Ballon d’Or worthy this year

By Ben Green

Published: 13:48, 6 July 2021

Maurizio Sarri has endorsed Jorginho’s chances of making this year’s shortlist for the Ballon d’Or.

Sarri has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Jorginho during his managerial career, with the duo working together at Napoli and Chelsea.

It was in Campania where Jorginho first rose to significant prominence under the methodical teachings of the Italian, forming a metronomic presence at the base of his midfield, as ‘Sarri-ball’ flourished in Serie A.


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The pair then moved to Stamford Bridge in 2018 and won the Europa League — Sarri’s first trophy as a manager — but Jorginho has outlasted his former boss in England, shifting opinion on the terraces since Thomas Tuchel took the reins.

Once a polarising player at Chelsea, Jorginho is now an invaluable cog, proving the vital artery in Tuchel’s midfield as the club won the 2021 Champions League, and he has since transmitted that form over to Euro 2020 with Italy.

Sarri believes his former student deserves recognition for his performances this year, and has even tipped him to be in the running for the Ballon d’Or if Italy — who face Spain in the semi-finals — go all the way and win Euro 2020.

Sarri told SportItalia : “If he wins the European Championship, he is a candidate for the Ballon d’Or.

“He’s a refined player and that’s why everyone doesn’t understand him.


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“He makes everything seem easy, it’s his greatness. When I went to Chelsea, we managed to snatch him from Manchester City.

“At first it was hard to understand him for the fans, the journalists, now I see that he is appreciated. He was also the captain of Chelsea.”

Why all the Ballon d’Or talk for Jorginho?

Sarri has not been the only Italian beating the drum for Jorginho to be recognised at the ceremony in France later this year.

Lorenzo Insigne, current Italy teammate and a former colleague of Jorginho’s at Napoli, has vouched for his credentials as a viable Ballon d’Or candidate.

He told a press conference earlier this month: “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.”

READ MORE:

Euro 2020 predictions & tips
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