Jorginho said he will ‘never forget that Italy helped’ when he needed it and revealed the the penalty miss in the EURO 2020 Final will always haunt him. ‘It’s hard to describe what it feels like’.
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has been tipped to win the Ballon d’Or this year and was named UEFA Player of the Year during the Champions League draw.
The 29-year-old’s recent success includes the Europa League, the Champions League and, of course, the European Championship with the Azzurri.
The Brazilian-born midfielder’s great grandfather was Italian and the former Napoli star revealed it was ‘easy’ to choose Italy over his homeland.
“I’m sitting here with a Europa League title and a Champions League title. So to all the critics, I just want to say one thing.
Thank you. Really, thank you all.”
Jorginho has a message for all the dreamers.https://t.co/HoRV5Ctr4F
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) September 1, 2021
“Playing for Italy is so special to me,” Jorginho said in The Players’ Tribune. “Choosing Italy was easy.
“Brazil never gave me the chance to fulfil my dream. Italy chose me to play for them, even though I was born in another country. That is a huge deal to me.
“Also, my great grandfather was Italian, which is what enabled me to play for Italy. I feel Italian. I have spent almost half my life here. Each day I love this country more and more.
“And I’ll never forget that, when I needed help, Italy helped me. So how could I turn my back when Italy needed me?”
Jorginho first arrived at Hellas Verona at 15 and explained he used to live on €20 a week and almost gave up on life as a professional footballer.
“It was a lonely existence, really. I spent a year and a half like that, just living for football,” he said. “But when I was 17 and began training with the professionals at Verona, my agent and I had a falling out. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it was bad. It really left me in pieces.
“I had suffered two years in a filthy football camp in Brazil. I had spent 18 months living on 20 euros a week in Italy. And now this?
“I called my mum, crying. ‘Mum, I’m done. This is too much for me. I miss you. I’m coming home’. In my head I was already back in Imbituba.
Jorginho: ‘I am giving Ballon d’Or some thought’
“But she said: ‘The door will be closed’. I was like: ‘What?’
“She said: ‘You are not coming home. If you show up at my door, I won’t open’. I was shocked. Can you imagine your own mother telling you that??
“I called my dad. Since they were separated, I thought I could just live with him. But he told me that his door was closed, too.
“Then my parents got together and called me up. They said something like: ‘Jorge, you’re training with the pros, and you want to give up now? After everything you have suffered? It doesn’t make sense. Believe. Move on. Your dream will come true’.
“My older sister told me later that after my mum hung up, she broke down in tears.“
But Jorginho listened to his parents and has since had great success on the football pitch, with Napoli, Chelsea and Italy.
The playmaker was one of the key members of Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri this summer and gives the CT ‘huge credit’ for the success.
“Huge credit to Mancini,” he said. “Some coaches force the players to adapt to their preferred style.
“He adapted his style to the players. He saw that we weren’t very physical, but that we could pass and move. We could play. I’ve got to say that it turned out pretty well.”
But Jorginho missed his penalty in the shootout against England, a moment he said he will never forget.
“I was confident about taking a penalty in the final,” he confessed. “I had my own way of doing it, right? It’s a trick I began using when I was playing around in training with Henrique at Napoli.
“But Pickford had studied me well, credit to him. When the ball didn’t go in, I was like, No, this isn’t possible … and then I said some things that should not be repeated here.
“It is hard to describe what it feels like to let down an entire nation. I just prayed that Gigio would save me. For God’s sake, come on.
“When he did, I just fell to the ground. I could not believe that we were European champions.
“Obviously since we won, my miss didn’t matter. But if I’m honest, it will never leave me. Missing a penalty is bad enough. To do it in a final — and a final like that — believe me: Anyone who says he has forgotten it is lying.”
Italy and Jorginho are back in action tonight, as the European Champions continue their road to Qatar 2022 with a home game against Bulgaria.
Jorginho is expected to start in the midfield trident, as Mancini will most likely make few changes to the side that won the Final at Wembley.