‘How can he win the Ballon d’Or?’ Jorginho’s performance in Chelsea vs. Man United divides fans

Jorginho’s performance in Chelsea-Manchester United is causing debate on social media on the eve of the Ballon d’Or ceremony.

The former Napoli and Hellas Verona star caused Manchester United’s opening goal at Stamford Bridge by failing to control a ball in the middle of the park. Jadon Sancho could go one-on-one with Edouard Mendy and put the Red Devils ahead.

However, Jorginho levelled the score 20 minutes later by converting a spot-kick.

The former Napoli man took centre stage for different reasons, causing debate on social media ahead of the Ballon d’Or ceremony, which takes place tomorrow.

Video: Jorginho changes penalty technique after defensive blunder in Chelsea vs. Man United

Although Leo Messi seems to be the clear favourite to win the award, Jorginho has been in the conversation for a few months, given that he became European champion for club and country in 2021.

He won the Champions League with Chelsea and the Euros with Italy, playing a key role for both teams.

Jorginho was trending on Twitter in the UK during Chelsea-Manchester United, with many commenting on his performance and whether or not he should win the Ballon d’Or.

Check out the best comments below:

epa09609561 Chelsea's Jorginho celebrates after scoring the 1-1 equalizer during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United in London, Britain, 28 November 2021. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications

Video: Jorginho changes penalty technique after defensive blunder in Chelsea vs. Man United

Jorginho converted a penalty kick to level the score in Chelsea-Manchester United, but the Red Devils had taken the lead following a defensive blunder from the Italy international.

Manchester United broke the deadlock after 50 minutes at Stamford Bridge thanks to a goal from Jadon Sancho, who made the most of a mistake by the former Napoli and Hellas Verona star.

Jorginho was alone in the middle of the park after a Chelsea corner kick but failed to bring the ball down, allowing Sancho to win the ball and go one-on-one with Edouard Mendy.

The Italy international had a chance to redeem himself 20 minutes later, converting a spot-kick earned by former Milan star Thiago Silva.

Jorginho has missed three penalty kicks in a row with Italy, including two in two games against Switzerland. However, he stepped up and scored the spot-kick for the Blues by sending David De Gea the wrong way.

Chelsea-Manchester United ended in a 1-1 draw.

It’s worth noticing that Jorginho once again changed his penalty technique, jumping just before kicking the ball.

Earlier in October, the 29-year-old converted two penalty kicks against Malmo without his iconic jump. He had missed the first penalty kick against Switzerland only a few days earlier, so he decided to change his technique.

He returned to old habits against Manchester United, but he may not take the next penalty kick for the Azzurri as Leonardo Bonucci could step up if Italy get a spot-kick in the World Cup play-offs in March.

Jorginho

Berardi scores Messi-style goal and continues to torment Milan

Domenico Berardi scored his tenth goal in 16 appearances against Milan with an effort that reminisced of Leo Messi’s goal against Bayern Munich in 2015.

Sassuolo claimed a historic 3-1 win over Milan at San Siro today with goals from Gianluca Scamacca, Berardi and a Simon Kjaer own goal.

The Italian winger scored his tenth goal in 16 appearances against the Rossoneri, the club against whom the 27-year-old has scored the most goals in his career.

Serie A | Milan 1-3 Sassuolo: Scamacca stuns Rossoneri

Berardi netted four goals in his first-ever game against the Rossoneri in the 2013-14 campaign and three more in the return leg at the Mapei Stadium in 2014-15.

“I think Milan brings me good luck,” Berardi told DAZN after the game.

“I’ve always scored against them and I hope to continue.”

Berardi has won six games against Milan, drawing two and losing eight.

His last goal against the Rossoneri was similar to the one Leo Messi netted in 2015 in a Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich.

Both Berardi and Messi left their direct opponent floored, managing to put the ball into the net from a tight angle.

Sassuolo have 18 points in 14 games and have beaten Milan and Juventus away this season.

epa09609234 Sassuolo?s Domenico Berardi (R) scores his team's third goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and US Sassuolo Calcio in Milan, Italy, 28 November 2021. EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI

Video: Donnarumma error irritates PSG teammates

Gianluigi Donnarumma is under fire after a rare start in the Paris Saint-Germain goal, as his weak parry allowed St-Etienne to take the lead, prompting an angry response from teammates.

The Italy international is second choice to Keylor Navas, but was given the opportunity to wear the gloves this afternoon in their Ligue 1 match.

It didn’t go to plan, as Donnarumma’s weak save on the initial Kolodziejczak shot was only into the path of Denis Bouanga to score on the rebound.

Initially ruled offside, it was eventually given after a VAR review.

It did not go unnoticed that Donnarumma’s teammates reacted angrily to the error, adding to the tension within the PSG camp.

epa09488349 Paris Saint Germain's goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma warms up for the French Ligue 1 soccer match between PSG and Montpellier at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, 25 September 2021. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Fonseca warns Italy over Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal

Former Roma coach Paulo Fonseca warns Italy about Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo and confirms he called Nicolò Barella to convince him to join Roma.

The Portuguese tactician remained in charge of the Giallorossi for two seasons.

He held talks with Tottenham in the summer and has been linked with the Newcastle job more recently.

“I want a nice project, one team that believes in my ideas. I am free, but it doesn’t mean I want to accept any offer,” Fonseca told Repubblica.

“There have been rumours about some clubs. Some were true, others were just rumours. I prefer a club over a national team, but if the project is serious, I can’t rule anything out.”

Fonseca commented on the potential World Cup play-off final between Italy and Portugal in March.

The Azzurri have been drawn in the same qualification path as Cristiano Ronaldo’s side and the two countries could meet in the Final.

Italy will play the semis against North Macedonia, while Portugal will face Turkey. Both the semifinals and the Final are played on a one-leg basis.

“Fernando Santos is a good coach, we are so grateful to him for winning the Euros in 2016, but sometimes Portugal haven’t played as a team, we haven’t always fought all together,” Fonseca admitted.

“We missed the collective, which made Italy the best team at the Euros. I was convinced they’d win.

“Italy’s technical level is very high. Look at Nicolò Barella. I wanted him at Roma. I called him to convince him to move there. Mancini was able to build a great team. Many teams have talent but are not a team.”

Barella eventually picked Inter over Roma, completing an initial loan move with an obligation to buy from Cagliari in 2018.

“We can’t forget that Cristiano [Ronaldo] is 36,” Fonseca continued.

“He is the best scorer in history, but Portugal is more than just him. He is a terrific finished, but now many young and talented Portuguese players play in the best teams in Europe.”

Ronaldo, a former Juventus star, remains Portugal biggest threat for the Azzurri and former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro explained how Italy can stop the 36-year-old should they meet in March.

Cannavaro explains how Italy can stop Cristiano Ronaldo

Ex-Roma coach Paulo Fonseca

Cannavaro explains how Italy can stop Cristiano Ronaldo

Italy legend Fabio Cannavaro is confident Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci can stop Cristiano Ronaldo who ‘is not as agile as some years ago.’

Roberto Mancini’s Italy have been drawn with Portugal, North Macedonia and Turkey in their World Cup play-off group.

They will face Goran Pandev’s North Macedonia in the semi-final and could potentially meet Portugal or Turkey in the Final.

“Italy have nothing to fear as we play as we know,” Cannavaro told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Portugal are strong, but you need to beat anxiety in these games. Ronaldo would want to qualify for the World Cup, it’s the game he will live for.

“He keeps scoring goals, but Chiellini and Bonucci know his movements well and Cristiano is not as agile as he used to be some years ago and we could benefit from it.”

Ronaldo played three seasons with Chiellini and Bonucci at Juventus, winning two Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia and two Italian SuperCups.

He scored 101 goals in 134 appearances with the Bianconeri.

Investigators looking into Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus contract

He returned to Manchester United in a 15m deal plus €8m add-ons in the summer.

“We’ll need to recover those players who were injured in November and add quality midfielders such as [Marco] Verratti or [Lorenzo] Pellegrini,” Cannavaro added.

“Perhaps, Spinazzola will be ready in March.”

Cannavaro captained Italy during the 2006 World Cup won by the Azzurri in Germany. He has 136 senior caps to his name.

The former defender is also the last Italian player to have won the Ballon d’Or.

He received the award in 2006 after Italy’s World Cup victory.

epa08840598 Evergrande head coach Fabio Cannavaro (L) during the AFC Champions League group G match between Guangzhou Evergrande and Vissel Kobe at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, 25 November 2020. EPA-EFE/Noushad Thekkayil

The heart-warming renaissance of Saponara

Riccardo Saponara has put in some brilliant performances at Fiorentina and Giancarlo Rinaldi analyses what’s behind his ‘Florentine Renaissance’ after a few dark years.

The sensation is a little like two protagonists of some long-running television series finally admitting their feelings for one another. After a string of will-they won’t-they moments, it looks as if Fiorentina and Riccardo Saponara might have ultimately fallen for one another. You might well be tempted to let out a little sigh and say: “At last!”.

It is early days in the Vincenzo Italiano era but he appears to be confirmed in Florence the understanding he had of his elegant but fragile star when he coached him at Spezia. The appearances have only added up to a handful so far this season but the evidence is growing that Ricky could be ready to give his best to the Viola cause. It has only taken four years for the club and player to reach this stage.

Loan spells at Sampdoria, Genoa, Lecce and Spezia all saw his gifts flicker and occasionally burst into life but never with the consistency he and his teams craved. This summer, it looked like his return to Florence would only be a brief one before being dispatched elsewhere once more. He stayed, though, and is starting to affect games once more in the way his abilities deserve.

Video: Saponara dedicates goal to Astori

It is the curious nature of modern football that he is one of a handful of players who remain in Florence who were part of the set-up when they lost their captain, Davide Astori, more than three years ago. Most of them – including coach Stefano Pioli – have moved on to pastures new. Saponara, though, is back at the club and has written most poignantly about the influence Astori had on him as a player and, more importantly, as a person.

The fact that it has taken so long to open Fiorentina’s eyes to the player’s merits perhaps only makes the story more enjoyable. It feels like someone finally managed to pull the cork on some fine vintage that has been sitting on your wine rack for far too long. Now all you have to do is sit back, savour and enjoy.

Because Saponara on top form is a sumptuous thing. His little back-flick to help set up one of Dusan Vlahovic’s treble against Spezia was a joy to behold. And his strike to help end Milan’s unbeaten league run was the stuff that FIFA 22 Team of the Week cards are made of. But it is his overall play that has truly captivated supporters. These have been virtuoso performances that have hinted at the prospect of a key role in the weeks – and even seasons – to come.

It might be another false start, of course, but as the player himself would say – that’s probably OK. For a professional footballer, he has a remarkable sense of perspective about the importance of the game in relation to events that really matter. It means that he is able to enjoy the good times when they come but not stress too much when things go wrong.

That’s what makes this moment so special, however long it might last. We get told that nice guys always finish last but this is one occasion where that is being disproved. Saponara is becoming a quiet leader, dictating the tempo and style of his team whenever he takes to the pitch. His goal celebration salute to his lost skipper was touching in the extreme. Only the most callous of Calcio fans could fail to take some pleasure in his time in the sun.

We can get so caught up in our obsession with results and scores and VAR penalties given or denied that we sometimes miss the bigger picture. Footballers are people too and it is easy to forget they have feelings, thoughts and emotions just like the rest of us. That’s why we should all enjoy seeing one of the game’s more sensitive individuals getting the chance to shine. Ricky Saponara’s success is chicken soup for football’s soul – and everyone needs a bowl of that from time to time.

@Ginkers

epa09594712 Fiorentina's Riccardo Saponara (L) vies for the ball with Milan's Pierre Kalulu (R) during the Italian Serie A soccer match ACF Fiorentina vs AC Milan at Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence, Italy, 20 November 2021. EPA-EFE/CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI

Conte discusses Tottenham transfers: ‘I only asked for one player…’

Antonio Conte clarifies Romelu Lukaku is the only player he ever asked to sign and explains why Tottenham’ won’t spend a lot’ on new signings.

The Italian tactician spoke to SportWeek almost one month after he was appointed Tottenham coach.

“I’ve never been afraid of challenges,” Conte told Sportweek as quoted by Calciomercato.com.

“Having a 1 per cent chance to win is enough for me. I’ve never taken charge of teams that had won the year before. I have always rebuilt during my career.

“Juventus had finished seventh, Chelsea tenth, Inter fourth. I know it will take some patience this time. In Milan, I finished the job. It’s never easy to take over while the season is ongoing.”

During the same interview, which was released in full on Saturday, Conte also discussed Tottenham’s transfer strategies and how much the club will spend in the coming months with him in charge.

Conte ‘not afraid’ of Tottenham challenge

“I have a solid relationship with Fabio [Paratici], we worked together before and we speak the same language. And I don’t mean Italian.

“It makes me laugh when I hear that I make clubs spend a lot. I make them earn and not lose money.

“All the players that I’ve coached have gained value. [Romelu] Lukaku is the only player I ever asked to sign,” he continued.

Inter signed Lukaku in a €75m deal from Manchester United in 2019. The Belgian star left San Siro two years later, returning to Chelsea for €115m.

He scored 47 goals in 72 games across all competitions in a Nerazzurri shirt.

“I asked him based on the targets that we had, Inter directors came to my home telling me that they wanted to end Juventus’ hegemony and put Inter on top of the world by using their huge economic means,” Conte added.

“I thought Lukaku was crucial. Then he was sold for almost the double, same as Achraf Hakimi.

“I could talk about Barella, Bastoni or Lautaro, who was not a regular starter before I arrived.

“At Juventus, I had the pleasure to work with Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini who had never won a thing before I arrived. I earn what I’m worth, what I produce and what I win. The value of a professional is established by his history and the results he gets.”

Conte has signed an 18-month deal in North London and lost his first game in charge of the North Londoners on Thursday when Tottenham suffered a 2-1 loss against Mura.

Spurs collected four points in Conte’s first two Premier League games in charge.

epa09114411 Inter's coach Antonio Conte reacts during the Italian Serie A soccer match Bologna FC vs FC Inter Milan at Renato Dall'Ara stadium, Bologna, Italy, 03 April 2021. EPA-EFE/ELISABETTA BARACCHI