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Italy’s “professor” breaks Marcel Desailly’s 25-year record at Euro 2020

Italian midfielder Jorginho, dubbed ‘Professor’ by his teammates, has broken Marcel Desailly’s 25-year European Championship record for the most interceptions in a single tournament.

Jorginho, 29, was probably Gli Azzurri ‘s most important cog, alongside Euro 2020 player of the tournament, Gianluigi Donnarumma, when the nation took their second title and beat England 3-2 on penalties in the weekend final.

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The Chelsea midfielder has had a particularly fruitful year in 2021 so far, has already won the Champions League under the appointment of Thomas Tuchel in the middle of the season and is now delivering the goods on an international level, which of course meant that his hat for the Ballon d ‘ Or was thrown into the ring.

Former coach Maurizio Sarri, who coached Jorginho in Napoli and Stamford Bridge, said ahead of the final that if Roberto Mancini’s men make it, his former student should be in the running to take Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi for the ultimate Football game challenge single prize.

“If he wins the European Championship he will be a candidate for the Ballon d’Or,” said Sarri.

“He’s a clever player, so not everyone understands him.

“He makes everything seem simple, it’s his size. When I went to Chelsea we managed to snatch it from Manchester City.

“At first it was difficult for the fans, the journalists, to understand him, now I see that he is valued. He was also the captain of Chelsea. “

Once a polarizing figure in West London, Jorginho’s most recent form has clearly changed minds and dispelled any previous skepticism. The Brazilian-born pacemaker is now one of the first names on the team list under Tuchel.

He ended the 2020/21 season with the most interceptions of any player in the Champions League (26), and he has carried that form to the international stage, where he set a record for the most interceptions at a European Championship (25) and beat 1996 Desailly’s record (24).

His crowning glory was his semi-final win against Spain, where he recorded eight tournament-level interceptions for a single game, landing six for France against Switzerland, ahead of N’Golo Kantes, which was the second most in the entire tournament for one game.

In addition, Jorginho also covered the most distance of all players at Euro 2020 (86.6 km) and won the most fouls (19), the latter metric placing him in third place in the overall standings for an individual tournament behind Mario Balotelli (20) at the 2012 European Championships and Deco (27) at the 2004 European Championships.

Jorginho not only surpassed Desailly’s record for France half a century ago, but is also ahead of players like Marcos Senna (22) at the 2008 European Championship, Daniele De Rossi (22) at the 2012 European Championship and Christian Ziege (22) at the EM 1996.

Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or in 2018 after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid and leading Croatia to the World Cup final. Jorginho has just won the Champions League and won a big international tournament with Italy. So could he be a real contender for the coveted award this year?

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