When Maurizio Sarri signed Jorge Luis Frello Filho from Napoli to Chelsea on the very same day he was hired as the manager of the blues, most of the pundits of English football were stunned.
Sarri was accused of favouritism for a player who supposedly didn’t have any chance of succeeding at the English Game, which is notorious for its overwhelming physicality.
After 3 years, the same midfielder who is more commonly known as Jorginho has been receiving Ballon d'Or shouts today from a lot of experts, in fact, from the very people who thought he would not be enough for the Chelsea Team. So, what exactly happened in the meantime?
Andrea Pirlo and Sergio Busquets have been two of the most influential and decorated midfielders of the past decade and both of them have been anomalies to the way the game has been played.
Pirlo is a deep-lying playmaker who was positioned in the pivot by Carlo Ancelotti when he saw Pirlo's inability to excel as a number 10.
Pirlo since then became one of the most revolutionary players of modern history with the term Regista which is the Italian jargon for his role, becoming synonymous with him.
Busquets on the other hand is a defensive midfielder, but not in the traditional sense of the term. He is the archetype of the defensive midfielder envisioned by Johan Cruyff. He doesn’t use force or raw physical strength to win balls but uses his technical ability and astute positional sense in this regard.
Jorginho might not have the name and fame of these two midfield maestros, but his style of play has been reminiscent of them both, in different ways. In Chelsea, he is most often partnered with N'Golo Kante, an energetic and supremely mobile box to box midfielder whose energy level throughout the whole game remains quite the same.
That is why, Jorginho gets to do what he does best-- intercepting balls, breaking plays, intelligent passing with occasional glimpses of his extraordinary vision by creating chances for his teammates.
The Chelsea team that won the Champions League this year was a very systematic unit. And Jorginho was a very important part of the system.
N'golo Kante was lauded for his performance in the last quarter of the Champions League. But it was due to Jorginho's positional intelligence that allowed Kante the freedom to move up and down the midfield while winning balls and going forward.
Similarly, with Italy in this year's Euro, Jorginho has functioned in a role quite similar to that of Busquets for Barcelona and the Spanish National Team. Jorginho was instrumental in blocking the passing lane of opponents, dominating possession as well as winning tackles due to his intelligence.
Jorginho also functions as a reliable penalty taker. He was the top scorer for Chelsea in the Premier League with all of his goals coming from the penalty spot. Also, his charismatic finish in the penalty shootouts against Spain to send Italy to the Euro Finals will remain in the memory of Football Fans for a very long time.
With another fantastic year from Robert Lewandowski and a quite regular exploit from both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo along with an overpowered Karim Benzema, Jorginho might not be a favourite to win the Ballon d’Or.
But his name coming into the conversation of candidates itself is a huge accomplishment for a midfielder of his type, who is often overlooked for not having the glamour of attackers.
Rassiq Aziz Kabir is a student of Economics at the University of Dhaka.