'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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.