JORGINHO rounded off an incredible year by finishing third in the Ballon d'Or award rankings last night.

The Chelsea star even ranked higher than Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe who ended up in sixth and ninth place respectively.

Only Lionel Messi who won the golden ball for the seventh time and runner-up Robert Lewandowski prevented Jorginho from scooping the accolade.

But it wasn't always glitz and glamour for the Brazilian-born Italian who started his career in Italy with Hellas Veronas being paid a measly £17-a-week wage to live on while living in a monastery with six other youngsters, reported Goal.

His first cheque was so tight that even buying a happy meal was off the cards as it was too expensive.

Jorginho who was 15 at the time, previously recalled to Players Tribune: "I’d go to the main square in Verona and buy a milkshake at McDonald’s.

"It cost one euro. Fries? Burger? Forget it, man! Happy Meals were for the rich kids."

He also explained that the rest of his meagre pay packet was used for the basics such as mobile credit to talk to his family and for toiletries.

Jorginho ended up in the cash-strapped position due to dodgy dealings by his then agent who pocketed £27,000 when the 29-year-old initially signed with Veronas.


HIs dire financial circumstances continued for a year-and-a-half until he met goalkeeper Rafael Pinheiro who took the Italy Euro 2020 winner under his wing.

Rafael realised that Jorginho was being shortchanged and alerted Veronas' hierarchy to his plight.

Rafael explained to the Serie A side that if they wanted to keep hold of Jorginho they'd have to reward him with a proper contract or risk losing him.

It then emerged that Veronas had a contract lined up for Jorginho all along, but his crooked agent hadn't disclosed the offer, according to Rafael.

The 39-year-old keeper then mediated negotiation proceedings between Jorginho and his family and the club to make sure he was given a fair contract this time around.

And at this point, life changed for Jorginho as he was able to buy the things he desired.

Rafael said: "After this, he bought a house for his parents and a car to have his own way of becoming a soccer player. It was impossible to be a player on €20-a-week."

These days, buying a Happy Meal is the least of Jorginho's worries as he's now considered one of the best players in the world.

At Veronas he was known as the 'Wolf of the future' but nowadays he's earned the moniker 'The Professor' for his intuitive knowledge of the game.

His precision has helped him lift the Champions League with Chelsea in May, and lift the Euro 2020 trophy with Italy.

But despite all his success, Jorginho's never forgotten what Rafael did for him in Italy and up to this day they remain in close contact. referring to each other as brothers.

And being Jorginho's 'brother' comes with its perks as he's given Rafael tickets to come and see all his big games, including Chelsea's emphatic Champions League final win against Manchester City.

Rafael added: "He is my brother, not with blood, but through our friendship.

"For me, it was a good experience to see him win. He has won everything this year. He is the midfielder and the brains of his teams."

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