Chelsea 3-1 Southampton: Picture highlights
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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has singled out one of his own players for the prestigious Ballon d’or award. The prize is given for the best footballer in the world, and the German’s readiness to unveil his choice is surprising not just because of the presence of Lionel Messi in the line-up of nominees but also because another of his own players at Stamford Bridge is in the running for the prize.
According to Tuchel, Jorginho deserves to win the individual accolade for his performances which helped his club and country achieve European glory last season.
The assured midfielder helped the Blues win the Champions League in May, before going on to win Euro 2020 with Italy.
This season, he has kicked on much the same as Tuchel’s side sit top of the Premier League after a furiously competitive start between the top sides.
Jorginho therefore has plenty of ammunition when it comes to Ballon d’or contention, although the list revealed on Friday also contains star-studded names like Messi and Robert Lewandowski, as well as his own Chelsea team-mate N’Golo Kante.
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Speaking to the Sports Festival in Trento, Tuchel said: “Jorginho deserves to win the Ballon d’Or. He’s a very intelligent player and it’s a pleasure to be his coach.
“He has a great vision of football. For me, individual prizes don’t have great significance, it’s impossible to make a real comparison between several players of different roles.
“I would like one of my players to win it because I would know what the effect would be.
“Then Jorginho is a great person and an excellent player, but in general it’s not the most important thing.”
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Jorginho’s metronomic passing went under the radar when he first came to the Premier League back in 2018, but over time it has become clear how difficult he makes Chelsea to play against.
The Italian is so accomplished at keeping the ball, reading the game and receiving it in tight areas that he has truly stamped his authority on a midfield spot at Stamford Bridge.
Former Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, who brought Jorginho to the Premier League from Napoli where the pair also worked together, made similar comments to Tuchel earlier this year.
“He is so good and intelligent that he makes everything seem easy, rarely anything spectacular remains in your eyes. This is its greatness,” he said.
“Fans and journalists struggled to understand this boy’s game. Then he exploded in popularity in England too, now I have seen that he made the captain.
“If he wins the European Championship too, he will become one [Ballon d’or winner].”
Messi’s slow start at PSG could play into Jorginho’s hands when it comes to picking up the trophy, although Lewandowski has been in sensational goalscoring form.
Still, his ego must be well and truly boosted that Chelsea managers past and present have tipped him for such a prestigious prize.
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