The end of the calendar year is naturally a time for reflection, and no Chelsea player can look back on 2021 with as much fondness as Jorginho.

The midfielder played starring roles in both our Champions League triumph in May as well as Italy’s conquest of Euro 2020, a rare club and country double that places Jorginho among the elites.

He finished third in the vote for the Ballon d’Or, too, proof of the esteem in which he is held around the world.

‘I’m very proud, but if I got there it was because I wasn’t alone,’ he said modestly.

‘I got there because of the work of everyone around me. It’s nice to see a midfielder up there. It means everyone is seeing what we can do, what we can offer and add to the team.

‘Until now it definitely was my best year,’ he added.

‘Winning those trophies doesn’t happen every year! Hopefully, maybe, I can have something similar, or maybe even better, why not!’

Jorginho’s brace of successful spot-kicks at Villa Park on Boxing Day took him to 10 converted Premier League penalties in 2021, a record in the competition. Having finished last season as our top goalscorer in the league, he again leads the way in all competitions this time around.

‘It’s just happened like that!’ he laughed.

‘I hope our strikers can score, score, score and be the top scorers and not me, to be honest.

‘People watching are probably more nervous than me when I take a penalty, especially my friends and family,’ continued Jorginho, analysing the key to success from 12 yards.

‘Sometimes you know the pressure is higher than other times, but I try to not put that pressure on myself or feel that pressure. I try to breathe, clear my mind and keep calm.’

Tonight’s fixture against Brighton will be a tough one according to Jorginho because of the Seagulls’ impressive shape and movement. It kickstarts a run of tricky fixtures that includes match-ups with our title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

‘Those games are about building confidence, not about the points,’ reckons Jorginho.

‘The season is long, and the Premier League is the hardest championship in the world so anything can happen, but it’s more about confidence.

‘I prefer to be the underdog and let people talk about others and we just keep working and pushing, and in the end we will see where we can be.

‘I knew a difficult time would always come during the season, and it’s more about how you deal with it,’ added the 30-year-old of an up-and-down December.

‘We did the right thing, kept working and working and helping each other to get out of that situation, and now we still have a lot to do.’