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Jorginho on his ‘unreal’ Ballon d’Or dream, trusting Thomas Tuchel – and having the last laugh on England

Despite coronavirus restrictions, she managed to see her son play in the final of the Champions League and, according to Jorginho, cried her way through the resulting celebrations. But Maria had to watch the final of the Euros on television in Brazil and is determined not to miss what could prove to be another big milestone.

“If I can, she has to be there [at the Ballon d’Or ceremony] with me,” said Jorginho. “I have no idea how she would react if I won, but she would be crying somewhere! It would be unbelievable, amazing.”

It was after Chelsea progressed past Atlético Madrid in the Champions League that Jorginho started to sense something special might be on the horizon and that feeling has snowballed with both his club and country.

“When we went through against Atlético and saw the draw, then it was like ‘this year could be special’,” said Jorginho. “And then we went forwards and won, and I thought ‘this already is special’. The Champions League gave me even more motivation for the Euros because I thought ‘this is good, I want more’. I was pushing because I wanted the feeling again.

“I went to the Euros and I could feel there was something in the air, the atmosphere. First game in Italy, there was something special in the air between the people outside the hotel, the music, the music we put on the bus, the atmosphere between us. There was such a strong connection and such a good atmosphere. It felt like ‘this is our moment, don’t lose it’.”

There was another pause for laughter, when it was pointed out that England also believed it was their moment. “Almost,” came the reply.

For all the success and the highs of the past six months, Jorginho cannot quite shake off the feeling of seeing his penalty saved in the final of the Euros by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford – even though Italy won the shootout and the tournament.

Briefly becoming more serious, Jorginho said: “I still think about the final, especially the penalty. People might say it doesn’t matter, but it does for me. It hurts. It still hurts now, even though we won. Whoever says it doesn’t because it doesn’t matter is a liar.”

Asked how many times he has watched the final, Jorginho added: “Not that much, probably because it hurts a bit too. I couldn’t believe it, Pickford did very well.

“I just thought ‘f—, I disappointed my team-mates’ because they trusted me so much in that moment. Then when I walked back, and it was a long, long walk, I looked and saw it was Saka and Gigio [Donnarumma] and I was pretty sure he was going to save it. I was like ‘it’s ok, it’s done’.”

Unsurprisingly, given his nature, Jorginho has not been shy to celebrate his success with club and country. He sang ‘It’s coming Rome’ with Leonardo Bonucci following Italy’s victory and most recently has starred in an advert in which he presents an ‘English soup’ to Mancini before bursting into laughter.

“Not just me [making the jokes], Italy in general,” said Jorginho, again laughing. “It’s just jokes, healthy jokes. Nothing bad.”

He is similarly unabashed about showing off his silverware, saying: “My second place medals, maybe they are in a drawer. But then my winners’ medals, they are in the living room for everyone to see when they come to visit.”

But Jorginho insists that not even the addition of the Ballon d’Or to his mantelpiece would alter how he prioritises which of the medals and trophies of the past six months mean the most to him.

“Without the team, the individual trophies wouldn’t come,” he said. “So how can I put the individual in front of the team? I can’t because without the team, it would not be possible, never, ever for this to happen. So the team prizes are more important, of course.”

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