“A key element” – Club legend praises former Blues midfielder

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola believes that former midfielder Jorginho was the “key element” during the 2018/2019 season.

Zola worked as assistant coach to Maurizio Sarri that campaign which ended with the Blues getting their hands on the Europa League after thrashing rivals Arsenal 4-1 in Baku.

Jorginho followed Sarri from Napoli to Stamford Bridge that same summer despite being heavily linked with a move to Manchester City.

Fans didn’t initially take to the midfielder but he went on to have a very successful Chelsea career winning the Champions League in 2021 and coming third in the Ballon d’or that same year.

Despite having Eden Hazard in the side who was so often the match winner Zola has been talking up Jorginho’s qualities and how good he was for Sarri’s Chelsea.

Speaking to The Athletic he said: “Signing Jorginho was one of his conditions when he (Sarri) first got the job.”

“He was the first player he asked for, as he knew that if he wanted to put in place his own structure of football, Jorginho was a key element.”

“The criticism was the same thing they said to me when I first came, the game was too physical, I wasn’t going to cope with the situation, this and that. But when you’re a smart player, you can find a way to be successful.”

The Italian made 213 appearances for the Blues before joining rivals Arsenal for £12m in January 2023 where he is starting to establish himself as a key player.




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