Zola backs Jorginho to win the Ballon d'Or after Champions League and Euros triumphs

Zola backs Jorginho to win the Ballon d'Or after Champions League and Euros triumphs

Jorginho has been backed to win this year's Ballon d'Or award over Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski by former Chelsea and Italy forward Gianfranco Zola.

The midfielder has enjoyed incredible success over the last 12 months, following up his Champions League triumph with Chelsea by winning the European Championship with Italy this summer.

Jorginho was a key component of the Chelsea side that defeated Manchester City to lift the Champions League and was one of the standout performers at Euro 2020 as Italy marched on to beat England in the final.

The 29-year-old's fine performances this year has seen him become a genuine contender to win football's most prestigious individual award but he faces stern competition from club team-mate N'Golo Kante, Messi and Lewandowski.

Barcelona superstar Messi, who has already claimed the gong a record six times, is the firm favourite after winning his first major trophy with Argentina by lifting the Copa America this summer, but Zola believes Jorginho would 'deserve' to win the award ahead of him.

Zola said: ‘Now we are talking about a fantastic player like Messi who did extraordinary things for the first time with his national team – and this won’t go unnoticed.

‘Should they give it to Jorginho? It would be deserved. He gives concrete balance and pace to his teams. I was lucky to have him at Chelsea and I know what he does on the pitch.

‘It would be deserved because not only were his performances at a high level, but the teams he played for have been outstanding. This must be taken into account.’

Jorginho can take encouragement from the fact that Luka Modric won the coveted prize back in 2018, having enjoyed similar success with his club and on the international stage.

Modric, now 35, became the first man to break Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi's decade-long stranglehold on the Ballon d'Or back in 2018 after being named the best player in the world following a third successive Champions League trophy and a remarkable run with Croatia to the World Cup final.

Aside from Modric's victory, the honour has been given to Messi and Ronaldo every year since 2008.

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