Jorginho: I Almost Quit Football

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If there is one thing Jorginho did last season – he proved himself to the Chelsea fans that he has a fighting spirit.

The Italy international joined Chelsea last summer from Napoli as Maurizio Sarri brought him along from Naples. Jorginho featured as a deep lying playmaker in Maurizio Sarri’s Sarri-ball, but Chelsea fans weren’t impressed with the Italian as he struggled for most part of the season.

However, most fans will agree that Jorginho picked up form towards the end of the season and played a major role to help Chelsea win the Europa League and end the season third in the league.

Jorginho has now revealed that he almost quit football as a youngster after being duped by his agent, but fought hard to rise to the top.

“I was playing in a tournament in Brazil and an agent scouted me,” Jorginho told Chelsea’s official website. “He took me to his soccer school. The idea was he used it to scout players and anyone he thought was good enough he took over to Italy.

“That’s what he did with me when I was 15. He set me up with a trial at Verona in their youth section and they took me on. Initially when I moved over to Italy it was really easy because I was living my dream. Everything was brand new.

“Then I began to get into the routine: training, school, home, home, school, training. That’s all I did for 18 months. I had 20 euros to live on a week and I couldn’t do anything else, because you can’t with that amount of money. All I did was literally train and go to school. That was really tough.

“Because Verona weren’t in Serie A at that time, they didn’t have a youth team so I played in a local youth team called Berretti. Whilst I was playing for Berretti, I met a fellow Brazilian and I got friendly with him.

“He was asking me about what I was doing, how long I had been there for, and I told him I was living on 20 euros a week. He said ‘hang on a minute, there’s something not quite right about that’.

“He made some enquiries and it turned out my agent had been taking money and I knew nothing about it whatsoever. At that point I wanted to give up. I was completely devastated. I was fed up.

“I phoned home in tears and told my mum I wanted to come home and I didn’t want to play football anymore. She said: ‘Don’t even think about it! You’re so close, you’ve been there for a few years, I won’t let you back in the house! You need to stay there and hang tough.”

He added: “So I stayed and continued to train with the first team. I could have continued playing for Berretti, but at that point I decided I would go on loan. I went to a professional team in Serie C2 called Sambonifacese.

“While I was there, Verona got promoted to Serie B. When I went back, the coach, Andrea Mandorlini, said he didn’t need me because I had only played in C2 and now they were in B. But one of the directors who I knew quite well stuck up for me, and argued my case with the coach.

“By the October I hadn’t played a single game and had thought about the possibility of leaving in January. Then the first team player who had my position got injured, and his natural replacement was injured as well. The coach didn’t know what to do. He had to either improvise or play me.

“He played me and I did pretty well!”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.