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Italian football and Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has backed his fellow countryman Jorginho to beat Lionel Messi in the race to claim the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Brazilian-born Italy international was at the heart of the Blues Champions League success, as well as Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph as they beat England in the penalty shootaround.

And former Chelsea star believes he should be a real contender for the FIFA Ballon d’Or title.

‘Now we are talking about a fantastic player like Messi who did extraordinary things for the first time with his national team – and this won’t go unnoticed,’ Zola said.

‘Should they give it to Jorginho, it would be deserved. He gives concrete balance and pace to his teams. I was lucky to have him at Chelsea and I know what he does on the pitch.

‘It would be deserved because not only were his performances at a high level, but the teams he played for have been outstanding. This must be taken into account.’

However, claiming the Ballon d’Or award is not easy and with Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi won the Copa America title with Argentine while also scoring four goals and providing five assists, he is now firmly back in the top candidates to win his seventh FIFA Ballon d’Or.

And for a defensive midfielder to claim the award is even tougher. Since 2008, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi have won the Ballon d’Or every year apart from in 2018 when Real Madrid star Luka Modric won the award leading Croatia to the FIFA World-Cup final and winning the UEFA Champions League.

Jorginho has been a key player for both Chelsea and Italy national teams, however, according to the Sportbible he is still not among the top candidates to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or.

  • Lionel Messi – 2/5
  • Robert Lewandowski – 6/1
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 8/1
  • Harry Kane – 9/1
  • N’Golo Kante – 16/1
  • Raheem Sterling – 16/1
  • Kevin De Bruyne – 16/1
  • Jorginho – 14/1
  • Neymar – 25/1
  • Kylian Mbappe – 25/1
  • Ciro Immobile – 33/1