Why does Jorginho play for Italy, has he played for Brazil and how many Brazilians are in the Italy squad?

ITALY take on England in the Euro 2020 final and will be relying on Jorginho to set the pace and control possession.

But the Chelsea midfielder could very easily have been playing in a different final this weekend.

Brazil, the country where Jorginho was born, were beaten 1-0 by Argentina in the Copa America final and things could arguably have been different if the playmaker was present.

Why does Jorginho play for Italy?

Jorginho, whose real name is Jorge Luis Frello Filho, qualifies for Italian nationality through his great grandfather Giacomo Frello, who moved to Brazil from the Venice region.

He has also spent almost half his life in Italy, having moved to the country when he was 15.

Jorginho joined the Hellas Verona academy in 2007 and spent seven years at the club before joining Napoli in 2014 and then moving to Chelsea in 2018.

On his reasons for choosing to play for Italy, Jorginho implied that Brazil were only interested in him once he received an approach from the Azzurri.

He commented in 2017: “I’ll be honest, they were difficult days for me, but also wonderful ones.

"Having a choice like that, which is so important for your life and career, is not easy.

"Up until a month ago, I had no hope of getting a Brazil call and wasn’t even considering it.

"Then they rang and said they were observing me, so it was impossible to just ignore that. It’s still Brazil and it’s still where I was born.

"My head was spinning for a couple of days, but I made my decision and I do not regret it.

"I am very happy to play for Italy, I hope to bring great joy to the fans, as I love this country.”

Diego Costa, who chose to play for Spain over Brazil, told a similar story.

He said of his decision: “It was very difficult to choose between the country where you were born and the country that has given you everything."

Has Jorginho ever played for Brazil?

Unlike Diego Costa, who represented Brazil in two friendlies, Jorginho has never been called up by the Selecao.

And when he was growing up, the Chelsea star was not called up by either Brazil or Italy to represent their youth teams.

Jorginho was born in Imbituba, Santa Catarina, Brazil and therefore could have represented Brazil if he had chosen to do so.

Are there any other Brazilians in the Italy squad?

Jorginho is joined by two other Brazilians in the Italy Euro 2020 squad.

Chelsea team-mate Emerson Palmieri started his career at Santos, playing 18 times before moving to Roma in 2015.

He also represented the Brazil under-17 side during the South American U17 Championship and the Fifa U17 World Cup in 2011.

He acquired Italian citizenship in 2017 through his mother's side of the family, who hail from the Calabria region in the South of Italy.


Defender Rafael Toloi was also born in Brazil and played for Goias and Sao Paulo between 2009 and 2015.

After a spell at Roma in 2014, he moved to Atalanta in 2015, where he has played ever since.

Back in 2009, Toloi helped Brazil to the South American U20 championship and a runners-up spot at the U20 World Cup.

He has Italian nationality through his great-grandparents, who were from Treviso, and switched to representing Italy in February 2021.

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