Sunday November 17 2019
How Jorginho won Chelsea over

Jorginho’s football was too much of a change for Chelsea fans, but Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall saw Calcio’s Puccini win over the Wagnerian Premier League.

Not everybody who likes Puccini also appreciates Wagner. Either way, the music still takes form. In Naples, the masses would tell you tales of the beautiful, rhythmic and delicate touches that Jorginho used to distribute. Since he has gone, ask any Neapolitan and they will poetically remember a master craftsman, a conductor to an orchestra they once adored.

Now ask the English, a nation besotted by Jurgen Klopp and his Wagnerian football. Fast, frantic, aggressive, what place has Jorginho in this? None it seems, and last season most lovers of the adopted Brazilian simply thought, thank God Andrea Pirlo never went to England. But then, out of nowhere, came Frank Lampard.

Maurizio Sarri owes much to Jorginho. Everything went through him. Yes, we talk of Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens in ‘The Trident’, but it would not have existed if it wasn’t for him. To answer the cries from the gantry, ‘What of Marek Hamsik?’ I would request you to look back as he was (when in form) more of an offensive player and wasn’t prevalent in the build-up.

It was the former Hellas Verona man who was the metronome, he actually was that good. We talk today of Sandro Tonali and many others, but Jorginho genuinely did it week in, week out, and when he left Italy for Chelsea, he was still underrated. His fluency, his one and two touch passing in the middle of the field would give you so much, although the FIFA 19 generation would be left confused by his highlights reel.

This is not the place for statistics. Why bore you with a paragraph of percentages? If you are interested, go and look at Jorginho’s stats at Napoli, they are off the charts. He was deemed so important by Sarri that when the chain-smoking philosopher went to London, he had only one man in mind to make his orchestra work.

After his first season in England, Jorginho had been vilified. He was not the conductor everyone loved in Italy. His version of music was simply not appreciated. Like a Viennese modernist, he resembled Gustav Mahler, his different style frowned on. Mahler once said: “From the moment I crossed the threshold of the Olmütz Theatre I felt like one awaiting the wrath of God." Switch Olmütz to Stamford Bridge and you will understand the point.

Heavy pressing and an ‘up and at them’ mentality, merged with TV pundits who enjoy the words ‘in and around’ and ‘desire’ didn’t help Jorginho. To many in the island nation, he was branded a ‘side-ways passer’ and not a holding midfielder. He replaced N’Golo Kante in that position, a man much more in tune with Northern Europe, because he ran a lot and got stuck in.

Like any good modernist conductor, Jorginho felt and yet ignored the criticism. Ironically, he did the most archetypally English thing he could do and smiled, got his head down and carried on. He never once resorted to changing his style, nor did he come out in the press and justify it. Instead he played week after week and persisted. It was the arrival of a new coach, however, that eventually saw him get recognition.

Frank Lampard wasn’t a gamble. With a transfer ban, Jody Morris and the former Chelsea legend were a shrewd choice. A do or die situation was offered and they duly took it. What has happened since has been impressive, but not remarkable. In modern football, especially in Italy and England, youth teams can be overlooked, but what Lampard has proven is that the heavy investment in youth bears fruit. It’s not rocket science, they are not Ajax, but it still needed bringing to attention.

Jorginho has taken on a different status as a senior player. Lampard’s trust (like Sarri’s) is immoveable, he understands the music his Italian midfielder plays, he realises how few possess this talent. Now the Chelsea fans sing his name, as eventually they too came to appreciate his value. Chelsea under Lampard play a quick and exciting game, ironically more like Sarri that when Sarri was here.

In music and in football, what is modern becomes the norm in an instant. This is the story of Jorginho. It was not for the midfielder to change to appease his new audience. It was instead necessary for his audience to become educated over time. The problem is, this doesn’t happen enough in modern football (or in life). Perhaps the lesson simply is, when one has a talent, treasure it, believe in it, and it will bear fruit.

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Have your say...
@Anonymous 2,, You see the time when jorginho been selected for the national ranks we were not so enriched with talents than as of now. As you said brazil got short of talents so we were. Now we have bunch of tonalli,, barella,, sensi added to the older one. Things stay best when its natural as jorginho would hugely benifit the brazil team to make the dance going on. This call culture not stereotypes. Brazil won five world cup in five different times....fix it. Retaining your identity is best
on the 19th November, 2019 at 12:51pm
Bada Bing!
on the 18th November, 2019 at 2:10pm
Anony mouse... all anonymous are not. Peaople can have personal issues regarding names but when that anony pink below my head having breathing problem what to do!. Heritage my foot. Look at balotelli complete upbringing from italy that call heritage. Until someone like deco who was a great player and dedicated and decided to go below rank. Then maybe you'd give a thought to include him for a bonus!! ;)
on the 18th November, 2019 at 6:27am
Spirit Willy, Brazil hasn't been samba for a long time. Have you even seen their current midfield? Casemiro, Allan, Arthur, and Paqueta aren't exactly maestros on the ball. You're biased by past stereotypes but Italy's current midfield is much more technical than Brazil while Brazil has better defense and keeper than Italy. That's a sentence you never thought would be possible 20 years ago but here we are. Who in the Brazilian team can keep up with Jorginho's style other than Arthur?
on the 18th November, 2019 at 3:07am
Spirurit wilky
Do one!
Why should he play for brazil??
He has italian heritage
He feels Italian
Hes Italian !!!!
Forget the name
He haa italian blood .
Forget brazil
The only team to get thumped 1-7 at home in a world cup!
on the 18th November, 2019 at 12:59am
I am not belittling his talent at all. He will be extremely valuable to any top technical team and they are liverpool dortmund tottenhan and style grinta napoli. And had he wait a lttle he could join the dream team,,, the selecao,, the samba. That would be much much worthwhile than opted for italy where he replacing the shirt of de rossi!! Gattusso!!!! or even Palombo!!!
on the 17th November, 2019 at 8:43am
Have you ever noticed in fifa game when a player contribute is 80 but if you put him in another latteral position his attributes become 85! Yes because he possess a particular skill that helped to make that twist. To me jorginho is of lesser value to any club rather than napoli. Talking about orchestra he was that piece who was most less valuable without other pieces. Allan would battle all day in any top team, Jorginho can go and proudly say to lampard my mate hamsic is no less than you was..
on the 17th November, 2019 at 8:33am

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