Ruud Gullit has backed N’Golo Kante to claim the upcoming Ballon d’Or for his tireless, if not glamorous, work for Chelsea.
Speaking to reporters at the Giacinto Facchetti Awards night, Gullit was asked who should be presented with the individual honour.
Among the usual cluster of nominees nestles two of the Stamford Bridge clan.
Jorginho and Kante are both tipped to topple the dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Jorginho already has a UEFA Player Of The Year trophy stored on his shelf at home, alongside a European Championship, Champions League and Super Cup winner’s medal.
Blues for the Ballon d’Or
It was certainly a summer of sunshine and smiles for the Italian, who deserves more than most to claim the exclusive honour.
He might not be the most popular pick, plainly because the 29-year-old isn’t elegant like Messi or chiselled like Ronaldo.
Neither is Jorginho’s Chelsea colleague, who Gullit feels warrants the prize above any of the flashier, turbo-charged candidates.
“It’s a bit like (Franco) Baresi, who didn’t win (the award) despite his level.
“Those who score attract more and more attention.
“It would be nice to see someone who attracts less attention for goals, like Kante, who deserves to win.”
Baresi was a man mountain at the heart of AC Milan’s defence but was pipped by fellow San Siro star Marco van Basten for the 1989 Ballon d’Or award.
And there’s every chance voters might swing in the direction of Robert Lewandowski or Erling Haaland this time. The Bundesliga stars, like Van Basten, are goal-scorers who get fans on their feet.
But it would be nice to see the accolade handed to a Jorginho or Kante, whose importance to club and country go beyond the realms of simple discussion.
Luka Modric’s win in 2018 ended an onslaught of Ronaldo and Messi control.
Having another midfielder placed at number one is both needed and desired.
Especially if you’re of a Chelsea persuasion.