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Jorginho

BIOGRAPHY

Jorginho completed his move from Napoli to Chelsea in July 2018 and finished his first season at Stamford Bridge a Europa League winner.

The Italian international is a highly technical midfielder capable of dictating the tempo of play in possession with quick passing and movement. He has most often been deployed as a deep-lying playmaker in midfield, using his ability to link defence and attack.

Alongside his technical qualities, he is a combative player willing to put his foot in to regain possession, and his positioning without the ball further aids his effectiveness in front of the defence.

2018/19

He was a near ever-present in his first season in England, playing 54 times for Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea and starting all but one of our league matches.

Jorginho scored on his Premier League debut, converting from the penalty spot in our 3-0 win at Huddersfield. His first goal from open play was a stunning edge-of-the-box strike away to Fulham in March.

It was a good answer to some critics who had circled followed our disappointing away form and defending earlier in 2019, but Jorginho quickly displayed his mettle by playing the best football of his Chelsea career yet as the 2018/19 campaign drew to a close.

He bounced back from missing a penalty in the Carabao Cup final (having scored in the successful semi-final shoot-out against Spurs) to convert from 12 yards against Eintracht Frankfurt as we booked our place in the Europa League final, where Jorginho produced arguably his best Chelsea performance yet to help us dominate against Arsenal.

2019/20

He continued that form into the following season under the new management of Frank Lampard, with the boss deciding his experience and leadership skills merited the vice-captaincy.

In the first half of the campaign Jorginho netted nerveless penalties against Liverpool, Brighton and Ajax (twice), and also displayed predatory instincts to equalise as we came from behind to win at Arsenal (above).

Many of our bright early-season performances owed a great deal to Jorginho's creativity and solidity in central midfield, with one stunning first-time assist for Tammy Abraham at Watford a real highlight. His link-up play with Mateo Kovacic also stood out.

When football was paused due to the Covid pandemic, Jorginho had only missed five Chelsea matches in all competitions. He spent a period out of the team when the Premier League returned three months later, but returned to the starting line-up for the end of the season, helping us reach the FA Cup final.

2020/21

There cannot have been many Blues fans who like a bet placing their money at the start of the season on Jorginho being Chelsea’s top Premier League goalscorer in 2020/21.

Afterall, his two previous seasons at the club had yielded six goals between them in the competition, but he had developed into the first-choice penalty taker and it was from that source the seven goals he netted last campaign came, a total that was one goal greater than those by Abraham, Mason Mount and Timo Werner.

Yet it was not all smooth from the spot for our number five during the season. With Cesar Azpilicueta on the bench, he wore the captain’s armband for the opening day victory at Brighton and played the pass from which Werner won a penalty, converted by Jorginho for our first goal of the season.

He was skipper again when we hosted Liverpool the following weekend, but with the Blues 2-0 down and with only 10 men, Jorginho failed with a penalty (won again by Werner) with 15 minutes to go and a way back into the game had been lost.

That would be the last Chelsea defeat in all competitions for three months (one penalty shoot-out in a cup game at Spurs excepted) and although Jorginho was not an absolute fixture in Lampard’s starting line-up during that long unbeaten run, with N’Golo Kante, Kovacic, Mount and Kai Havertz other midfield options, he was selected for the majority.

In early October 2020, Jorginho netted two penalties in the space of four minutes against Crystal Palace and in doing so, became the first Chelsea player to score two penalties in a match for us twice, having also done so at home to Ajax in the Champions League the previous season.

Later that same month the Blues won a Champions League group game in Krasnodar 4-0, but it would have been more had Jorginho not struck the post with a penalty.

However, come December and the return game against Krasnodar, when another penalty was awarded Jorginho stepped up once more and, although he would miss one more before the end of 2020/21, the midfielder remained the taker with four more scored, winning crucial points with the only goal of the game at Tottenham and winners at Sheffield United and at home to Leicester, in that vital penultimate league game for our top-four hopes.

No other Chelsea player had scored 100 per cent of his Premier League goals from penalties, discounting Pato who took only one.

Chelsea’s 17-game unbeaten run in the first half of the season came to an end before Christmas 2020 with back-to-back away defeats at Everton and Wolves. Jorginho remained on the bench for both, returning for the next game, a 3-0 home win over Wolves, and then being introduced at 2-0 down at Arsenal on Boxing Day. It was there he made his last penalty miss of the season, when it was 3-1 and there was no time left on the clock.

The 29-year-old was again an unused sub for the nadir of the season, the defeat at Leicester in Lampard’s last league game in charge, but with Thomas Tuchel picking an experienced side for his first, Jorginho was there as half of what the German likes to describe as his ‘double-six’ in midfield, and he was only occasionally not one of the pairing for the rest of the campaign.

He finished the season with the sixth most starts in all competitions, including in that glorious Champions League final climax in Porto, and against the club from that city, in the quarter-finals, he was named Man of the Match by UEFA and registered an assist with a defence-splitting pass for Mount to open the scoring in a 2-0 win, in a tie that ended 2-1 on aggregate.

For Jorginho, however, despite all his contributions on the pitch with his fluid passing and movement and availability, the most iconic image of 2020/21 was with him in the stands, suspended in the previous Champions League round against Atletico Madrid, but epitomising the togetherness of the squad in that triumphant campaign when celebrating a late goal by his international team-mate Emerson.

Pre-Chelsea

At the age of 15, Jorginho moved from Brazil, the country of his birth, to Italy, qualifying for citizenship there through his grandparents. He began his senior career at Hellas Verona, where he broke into the first team following a successful loan spell at lower-league side Sambonifacese. He was a regular as Verona won promotion to Serie A after an 11-year absence.

In January 2014, Jorginho joined Napoli. He enjoyed four-and-a-half excellent years at the San Paolo, where he won the Coppa Italia and the Italian Super Cup, featuring prominently as they consistently challenged for the title and lit up Europe in the Champions League.

International

Jorginho holds Brazilian and Italian citizenship and first represented the latter country at Under-21 level in 2012. His senior debut for Italy arrived four years later, as a substitute in a 1-1 friendly draw with Spain.

He had to wait another two years for his first competitive cap, which came in a World Cup qualifying play-off defeat to Sweden, but he became a regular in the team during their 2018 UEFA Nations League campaign.

That continued in Italy’s successful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, scoring his third international goal from the penalty spot as they secured their place at the tournament with a 2-0 win over Greece.

Jorginho was selected in the Azzurri's squad for the Euro 2020 tournament and proved indespensable for manager Roberto Mancini throughout their victorioues campaign. The Chelsea man was one of only two outfield players to start every single game for Italy as they went all the way, proving key to their success in a familiar position at the heart of midfield.

He scored the decisive penalty in the semi-final shoot-out win over Spain and, although he saw his effort from the spot saved as Italy beat England in the final, his importance to Italy's triumph was beyond doubt, as shown when he was selected in the UEFA Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament.