ITALY boss Roberto Mancini is backing Jorginho to win this year’s coveted Ballon d’Or award, saying it would be ‘strange’ if he didn’t.
The charismatic manager, 56, led his team to victory at Euro 2020 this summer, with Jorginho starting all seven of Italy’s games on the road to Wembley.
Jorginho also started 12 of Chelsea’s 13 Champions League games last season, including their 1-0 victory over Manchester City in the final, and was included in the Team of the Tournament.
When quizzed about the five Azzurri players nominated for the prestigious award, Mancini said: “They are there because they are good, not because of me.
“Jorginho should, in my opinion, win the Ballon d’Or. He has won everything and deserves it a lot. It would seem strange to me otherwise.”
Alongside Jorginho, Gianluigi Donnarumma is also on the list, who won Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020 and left his boyhood club AC Milan to join PSG this summer.
Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella, 24, is also nominated after starting six of Italy’s seven matches at the Euros and playing 36 times for Inter, as they won the Scudetto for the first time in 11 years.
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Jorginho turned things around at Chelsea after falling out of favour under Frank Lampard, appearing in only 11 of his 19 Premier League matches in charge last season, starting seven consecutive games on the bench.
But Lampard was replaced by Thomas Tuchel in January and the Italian went on to feature in 17 of Tuchel’s 19 Premier League games in charge of Chelsea last season, starting 15.
He has so far featured in all seven of Chelsea’s games this season and has deputised as skipper in the absence of club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, after being appointed vice-captain in 2019.
If he were to win this year’s Ballon d’Or, he would become the first Chelsea player in history to do so, and the first Italian since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
But he will face stiff competition with the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema also up for the award.
Chelsea boss Tuchel is also backing Jorginho to claim this year’s prize, saying: “Jorginho deserves to win the Ballon d’Or. He’s a very intelligent player and it’s a pleasure to be his coach. He has a great vision of football.
“For me, individual prizes don’t have great significance, it’s impossible to make a real comparison between several players of different roles.
“I would like one of my players to win it because I would know what the effect would be. Then Jorginho is a great person and an excellent player, but in general it’s not the most important thing.”
The winner will be announced at a gala event at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris on 29 November.
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