Following Italy’s European Championship triumph at Wembley, a pair of Chelsea players have now joined an exclusive club of double continental champions…
Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri have lifted the Champions League and Euro 2020 in the past six weeks, the latest of 14 players to have ever achieved the feat. The duo both featured in Sunday’s final against England as Italy came from behind to take the game to a penalty shootout, which they edged 3-2 to spoil the party in London.
It follows a victorious continental campaign on the club stage, in which both were involved as Thomas Tuchel’s side battled past Atletico Madrid, Porto and Real Madrid in the knockout round before Kai Havertz’s goal settled a tight final against Manchester City.
They now join a select club which also includes former Blues Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, who won both European honours in 2012 with Spain following our Munich triumph, as well as Nicolas Anelka, who achieved it in 2000.
An instrumental and influential figure for the Azzurri at the tournament, Jorginho featured in all seven games in central midfield, pulling strings and dictating play. He missed just 15 minutes of action in total, withdrawn as a means of protection late on in the final group game against Wales by boss Roberto Mancini.
In Marco Verratti’s absence early in the tournament, it was the 29-year-old who stepped up to lead Italy’s front-footed play, using his experience to speed up or slow down the game as circumstances demanded.
His ice-cool penalty in the semi-final shootout against Spain had set up a meeting with England for the trophy and, following an intense contest that finished 1-1 after two hours, Jorginho was the man handed the chance to win it again on penalties.
The midfielder was thwarted by a brilliant Jordan Pickford save but redemption was swift as Gianluigi Donnarumma kept out Bukayo Saka’s effort to seal a 3-2 shootout victory.
The triumph caps a remarkable season for our vice-captain, with team-mates and pundits even tipping him as a Ballon d’Or contender.
He made 56 appearances in total for club and country, scoring crucial Chelsea goals against the likes of Tottenham and Leicester as our pursuit of Champions League qualification intensified in the spring.
With a cool persona on the pitch and a jovial character off it, Jorginho even ended the campaign as our top scorer in the Premier League. While he failed to net at Euro 2020, beyond that semi-final shootout spot-kick, his influence was no less important for a group now toasted as Europe's finest.
Trusted on the biggest of stages, Emerson did not disappoint as he came into the Italy side for the semi-finals onwards and played a key role in the team winning a trophy for the first time since 2006.
The 26-year-old played four games in total for Mancini’s men at the tournament, initially deputising for the impressive Leonardo Spinazzola in the group stage against Wales, before replacing his stricken team-mate late on during the quarter-final clash with Belgium.
An Achilles injury ruled the Roma full-back out for the remainder of Euro 2020, clearing the path for Emerson to take the left-back spot and carry the attacking responsibilities down that flank, a route that had become such a staple of the team’s success. At the same time, he kept both Spain and England attackers in check, proving himself a deserving champion.
For Chelsea, it was also the cup competitions that offered the majority of Emerson’s playing minutes in 2020/21.
He played in every round of the FA Cup before the final and also featured in both Carabao Cup games, though it was in the Champions League that he enjoyed his highlight of the campaign.
Having only just come on the pitch in the dying stages of our last-16 home leg against Atletico, he burst onto Christian Pulisic’s pass as we broke and fired a precise shot into the far corner with his first touch.
It sparked legendary scenes between Thiago Silva, Mason Mount and Jorginho watching on in the East Stand.
Across the capital on Sunday night, there were similar celebrations for the boys in red, white and blue as Jorginho and Emerson wrote their names into European football history.