'Deserved': Zola backs Chelsea star to beat Messi to prestigious award - The Chelsea Chronicle

'Deserved': Zola backs Chelsea star to beat Messi to prestigious award

Gianfranco Zola said Jorginho would be a worthy winner of the Ballon d’Or due to his triumphs with Chelsea and Italy.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Zola explained why he thought Jorginho could win football’s most prestigious individual prize.

Over the past few months, Chelsea’s metronome maestro has risen to fame across the sporting kingdom.

Photo by Michael Regan – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

He was heavily involved in the Blues Champions League victory, before playing an even bigger role in Italy’s European Championship success.

Not many can match the 29-year-old’s recent achievements, nor the manner in which he accomplished them.

But claiming the Ballon d’Or is no walk in the park, especially if you come from the school of central midfielders.

Luka Modric is the only exception in a decade dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Since 2008, the priceless pair have won the honour 11 times between them.

Zola in Jorginho’s corner

Following Messi’s Copa America delight with Argentina, Barcelona’s no.10 is now firmly in the Ballon d’Or chase once again.

However, Zola felt Jorginho would certainly give him a good run for his money.  

“The Ballon d’Or is usually awarded to a striker or an offensive player who can score a lot,” said the former Chelsea creator.

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“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. 

“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.”

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Outside of Messi and Jorginho, there can’t be many more top candidates to put forward.

Ronaldo did finish as Serie A and Euro 2020’s top scorer last season, yet Juventus and Portugal’s overall failures let him down.

Robert Lewandowski had a stunning campaign with Bayern Munich but could have done with clinching European glory at club level.

Photo by MATTHIAS BALK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

N’Golo Kante was in contention until France fell out of the international tournament.

Could Jorginho really knock Messi off his perch? Stranger things have certainly happened.

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"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."