Jorginho capped off an unforgettable 2020-21 season with the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award, beating out teammate N’Golo Kante and Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne.
For both club and country, the Brazil-born midfielder excelled. His seven Premier League goals were the most for Chelsea as the Blues finished fourth in the table, and he was instrumental in the club going on to beat Manchester City 1-0 in the Champions League final.
The 29-year-old then started in every game for Italy at Euro 2020 and was subbed off just once in seven matches as the Azzurri lifted their second European title. Though he missed his penalty in the shootout in the final against England, he converted the decisive spot-kick against Spain in the semis.
Quantifying the impact of a player such as Jorginho can be difficult because he isn’t much of a threat around the 18-yard box—17 of his 26 career goals in domestic leagues have been penalty kicks. And unlike De Bruyne, he doesn’t account for a high volume of his team’s assists.
But it’s not entirely a coincidence the former Napoli player collected two major trophies within a two-month span.
“Jorgi is a very strategic player,” Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said in August. “He knows what to do in possession, he can imagine what is going to happen one or two passes ahead, and he knows where to help out in short distances and longer distances.
“He knows when to switch the play and not to switch the play. He has a good sense of rhythm. He organises the environment around him and that allows him to show his true abilities in controlling the rhythm of a game.”
Early into his Chelsea career, Jorginho couldn’t shake the perception he was a favorite of then-manager Maurizio Sarri after following him from Naples. As a result, he probably caught more criticism than he deserved when the Blues finished a distant third in the Premier League in 2018-19.
Now, there’s no longer any doubt as to his value to the side. Chelsea is shaping up to be a serious threat to Manchester City for the 2021-22 league title, and Jorginho is likely to have a big say in whether the reigning champion is dethroned.