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Chelsea midfielder Jorginho: Arsenal chief Edu wanted me for Brazil

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho admits Arsenal chief Edu approached him about playing for Brazil four years ago.

Jorginho has just helped Italy win Euro 2020, but recalled how Edu, in his capacity as Brazilian FA co-ordinator at the time, contacted him about committing to the Selecao. However, due to the way Italian football had treated him as a young player, Jorginho insists he couldn't consider turning his back on the Azzurri.

Jorginho was born and raised in Imbituba in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina before making the move to Italy at 15 years of age. He is of Italian descent through his paternal great-grandfather Giacomo Frello and so was able to secure Italian citizenship at the time.

After defeating England in the final of Euro 2020, he told SporTV via TMW: "I also played in the U21s for Italy. As soon as the call came to me, I accepted immediately. Honestly I saw the Brazilian national team as something far away. I grew up in Italy (in the youth team of Verona) and Italy opened doors to me. In short, I honestly didn't think twice.

"After the Under 21s, I had played with the senior national team in only friendlies. In November 2017 came the call-up for the World Cup 'playoff' with Sweden but at that time I had also looked for Brazil. Edu Gaspar, former coordinator of the national team, had told me: 'Jorge, we are thinking of calling you, but I can't guarantee anything. I know it's hard, talk to your family'. And everything got complicated. It was my childhood dream to play with Brazil."

However, Jorginho - now 29 - admits he couldn't walk away from Italy given everything they had done for him.

He continued: "But I felt that Italy needed help, that fundamental game was being played with Sweden. And when I needed help, Italy helped me, hugged me and opened the doors to me. I didn't feel comfortable turning my back on her. My heart said 'No, Italy needs you'. So I made that choice and I'm honestly very happy about it."

The midfielder ended this past season a European champion at both international and club level, having also helped Chelsea to victory in the Champions League final against Manchester City.


- updated July 14


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