Chelsea legend makes Jorginho claim in Ballon d’Or race against ‘extraordinary’ Lionel Messi

Chelsea and Italy star Jorginho has been backed to win this year’s Ballon d’Or over Lionel Messi by former Blue Gianfranco Zola, amid talk of the Argentine being the favourite to scoop up his seventh award.

Jorginho had a brilliant 2020/21 campaign, winning both the Champions League and Euro 2020 competitions. However, he’s facing one of the world’s best players who has also had a significant season of his own.

Messi finally won an International tournament with his home country, playing a significant role in their 1-0 final win over previous Copa America champions Brazil.

The 34-year-old is currently the favourite to win his seventh Ballon d’Or, but Zola believes Jorginho has offered more in 2021 than his Argentinean competitor.

“Now we are talking about a fantastic player like Messi who did extraordinary things for the first time with his national team – and this won’t go unnoticed,” Zola told Sporting Index.

“Should they give it to Jorginho? It would be deserved. He gives concrete balance and pace to his teams. I was lucky to have him at Chelsea and I know what he does on the pitch.

“It would be deserved because not only were his performances at a high level, but the teams he played for have been outstanding. This must be taken into account.”

Jorginho himself believes he could be in with a real opportunity of winning the prestigious award depending on whether he meets the criteria or not.

“We live for dreams,” Jorginho told SportTV after the Euro 2020 final. “But I’ll be honest enough: it depends on the criteria that lead to assigning it.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho is being touted as a Ballon d'Or winner. (Image: beIN Sports/ Twitter)
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho is being touted as a Ballon d’Or winner. (Image: beIN Sports/ Twitter)

“If we walk about talent, I’m aware that I’m not the best in the world. If you choose based on titles, well, no one has won more than me this season.

“How will I compare myself to [Lionel] Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar? They have completely different characteristics, but again, it depends on the criteria.’

The ex-Napoli star featured in a total of 43 games in a Chelsea jersey last season, adding a total of 10 goal contributions – impressive form which has led to his agent Joao Santos pricing his client at €50million (£43million).

The summer window is officially open and now the Blues can look to build on European glory and bolster the squad to push for Premier League supremacy.

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“He would also like a return to Italy, but I think it will be in a couple of years and not now,” agent Joao Santos told Radio Kiss Kiss this summer.

“If they don’t call… He loves the city of Naples and spent wonderful years there, but he has to think about his career right now. He still has a contract at Chelsea.

“As for Milan, if he were to leave Chelsea, with €50million (£43million) and a contract similar to the one he currently has at Stamford Bridge, then he could think about it.”

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