Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini claims his Italy team-mate and Chelsea star Jorginho “truly deserves” to win the Ballon d’Or.
The Italian duo were successful at this summer’s European Championships after they helped the Azzurri beat England in a penalty shootout.
Jorginho missed his spot-kick after it was saved by Jordan Pickford, but the Everton goalkeeper’s save was not enough to guide the Three Lions to glory.
The Chelsea midfielder was also integral to the Blues’ Champions League success last term, as he flourished under Thomas Tuchel.
Chiellini and Jorginho will face off in the same competition on Wednesday, as Juventus host the west London club in a Group H encounter.
And the 37-year-old centre-back has revealed that his compatriot should be awarded the Ballon d’Or for his excellent year.
“I truly hope he will be able to win it, because he’s a good friend of mine,” said Chiellini.
“And it would also be an award that I will also feel as mine, being an Italian of course, and as a player involved in a win and emotions that will always be in our hearts.
“I’d always thought that Jorginho was a good player but after two or three training sessions in the national team, I’m talking about two or three years ago.
“Since (Italy boss Roberto) Mancini arrived and was able to give continuity, I was able to realise just how good he is and what a top player he really is.
“Maybe he doesn’t have the greatest physical qualities, but the real difference lies in his head and his mentality.”
Recently, Jorginho admitted he was “so angry” with the Chelsea fans who doubted him when he arrived at Stamford Bridge, but insists he used it as “fuel” to later “embarrass” them.
Chiellini admitted he has been delighted to see his international team-mate put one over his critics.
“And I was really happy, because many people said he could only play with Sarri and instead two other coaches arrived at Chelsea – and also the Italian national team,” he said.
“So wherever he goes, wherever he plays, he’s a regular player.
“I’m really happy for him and he truly deserves to win that award. So I hope that he will be awarded the Ballon d’Or.”