ROM, Italy: Italy midfielder Jorginho said the team’s fame is more important than any attempt to win a surprise Ballon d’Or award for the best player in world football after a teammate said he deserved it.
After Italy reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 with a 2-1 win over Austria on Saturday, striker Lorenzo Insigne highlighted the importance of 29-year-old Jorginho for the Azzurri and stressed that he should be considered for the award.
But ahead of Italy’s round of 16 game against Belgium in Munich on Friday, Jorginho, who was at the heart of the Chelsea team that won the Champions League last month, insisted that no such personal focus come to mind.
“I don’t think about it,” he said at the Italian training base on Wednesday when asked about the Ballon d’Or. “Everything that happens is the result of hard work.
“My priority is the group and celebrating with my teammates and friends. It’s nicer than celebrating alone,” he added at a press conference.
Italy face the first real test of the tournament against Belgium, which, according to FIFA, will face the top-ranked national team.
While Roberto Mancini’s team has so far impressed at the European Championships and expanded their record to 31 unbeaten games, Jorginho is skeptical of how tough Friday will be.
“We recognize that there is no room for error. It would be wrong to believe that we have already achieved something important,” he said.
“We have to work harder and harder. We are on the right track, we have to grit our teeth and we are doing it. We have to respect the first team in the ranking, but everyone has weaknesses.”