Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has been announced as the 2021 UEFA Player of the Year at the UEFA Champions League group stage draws in Istanbul, Turkey, following a stellar 2021 for the Italian midfielder of Brazilian descent.
Jorginho, who joined Chelsea from Napoli in 2018 for a reported £50 million, won the award after a brilliant performance for his club Chelsea and the Italian national team. The midfielder was instrumental for Chelsea en route to winning the UEFA Champions League, appearing in all but one of his side’s matches en route to the title. He also played every game for the victorious Italian national team at Euro 2020, scoring in the penalty shootout against Spain in the semifinal. The midfielder (175 points) beat Chelsea teammate N’Golo Kante (160 points) and Manchester City midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne (167 points) to the UEFA Player of the Year award. In his acceptance speech, the much-maligned 28-year-old expressed his delight at winning the award and praised the efforts of everyone who helped him along the way. He also thanked those who did not believe in him, stating that they motivated him to do better and be a better player by working harder. Jorginho has been a player that split opinions ever since he first set foot in the club with former coach Maurizio Sarri. Chelsea midfielder Jorginho emerging as the UEFA Player of the Year is a huge achievement for him because he seemed to be on his way out of the club only months earlier under Frank Lampard. Jorginho is the first Chelsea player ever to be named UEFA Player of the Year.
In the other categories, Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel was named as the men’s Coach of the Year for his immediate impact at the club after his appointment in January 2021. The German manager led Paris St Germain to a second-place finish in 2020 before joining Chelsea as a replacement for Frank Lampard. Tuchel won the award at the expense of Italy manager Roberto Mancini and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. FC Barcelona Femeni coach Lluis Cortes was named as the women’s Coach of the Year after his side brilliantly won the UEFA Women’s Champions League in the 2020/21 season.
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was named as the UEFA Champions League Goalkeeper of the Year after keeping a record-equalling nine clean sheets for Chelsea en route to their title. Manchester City’s Ruben Dias was named as the UEFA Champions League Defender of the Year, Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante was named as the Midfielder of the Year and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland was named as the Striker of the Year.