It's been 15 years since a player from the Italian national team last won the Ballon d’Or. Fabio Cannavaro scooped the award following an impressive year that saw him lead his country to the World Cup in 2006.
Only five Italian players in history have been awarded the most prestigious individual award in the sport. Omar Sivori (1961), Gianni Rivera (1969), Paolo Rossi (1982), Roberto Baggio (1993) and Cannavaro (2006). Jorginho could be the latest Azzuri player to be added to that list in 2021.
It's been a fantastic year for Jorginho, in terms of his representation for both club and country. The midfielder won the Champions League with Chelsea, playing a crucial part of Thomas Tuchel’s team that defeated domestic rivals Manchester City in the final.
Chelsea have made a good start to the 2021/2022 Premier League campaign, having won five of their opening seven games in the league. Jorginho has already won three trophies with the west London club but has yet to get his hands on the elusive Premier League trophy.
When deciding the Ballon d’Or winner, those voting often consider what's happened in major international tournaments. Promisingly for Jorginho, his track record indicates his potency, with a recent example being his role as an integral player for Italy during their Euro 2020 success. He was subsequently named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.
Jorginho has already landed the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year in 2021: that award is determined by sports journalists and coaches of the major clubs in the Champions League. Auspiciously, the winner of this trophy frequently goes on to be named in the top three of the Ballon d’Or list, at the very least.
As it stands, the Chelsea and Italy midfielder is currently 7/1 in the outright betting markets for the 2021 Ballon d’Or award. The odds-on favourite is Lionel Messi with odds of 2/5, followed closely behind by Robert Lewandowski with odds of 4/1. He still, however, has a couple more months to present his case to those who will be voting.
Other Contenders for 2021 Ballon d’Or
The 2019 winner of the Ballon d’Or, Messi, is once again in serious contention to win Europe’s leading award. So far, he's won it more times than any other player and if he's successful this year, it will be for the seventh occasion.
Messi scored 38 goals in all competitions last season for Barcelona. That marked his last for the Catalan club as he moved to PSG in the summer after his contract expired. 2021 was a big year for Messi as he won his first major tournament with Argentina as his national team prevailed at Copa America. They defeated Brazil in the final with a conclusive score of 1-0. Messi was the leading goalscorer at that competition and he provided more assists than any other player.
Lewandowski, meanwhile, was unlucky in that the 2020 Ballon d’Or award was cancelled. He would have been the likeliest player to win the award given how clinical he has been in front of goal in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
The Poland international broke Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a season in the German league in the 2020/2021 campaign and will surely be in contention for the prize on the return of the award.
This year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony will take place on the 29th of November in Paris.