Stories like Jorginho’s remind you of the lengths kids across the world go to in order to realise their dreams of becoming professional footballers. Here was a boy from Brazil, who used be taken to the beach in Imbituba by his mother Maria Tereza so he could train for hours on end. It wasn’t long before he got noticed by an agent who had a group of around 50 youngsters on his books, the most talented among which were then sent for trials back in his home country, Italy. Jorginho was one of them.
So one day he packed his bags, bid farewell to his parents and left Brazil. He was just 15. His destination: Verona. Times were undeniably hard. “For a year and a half I was without a contract,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I ate and slept in a kind of boarding house and got paid €20 a week by my agent.” Then, just as Jorginho was seriously considering going back to Brazil, Hellas signed him.
His luck changed. On the team was Rafael, a goalkeeper and fellow Brazilian, who took his compatriot under his wing and helped him settle. He changed agent and things started to pick up. Jorginho could concentrate on his football.
He soon established himself in Hellas’ side. Joining a club that had just got back into the second division, Jorginho was one of the reasons why Hellas came close to back-to-back promotions. Instead they were knocked out in the play-offs. They’d go up automatically the next season, returning to the top flight for the first time in 11 years, with the goals of Daniele Cacia, Serie B’s top scorer, often getting the headlines.
And yet for the scouts visiting the Bentegodi or monitoring their WyScout, it was Jorginho’s performances that left more of an impression. Over the summer, he was linked with Liverpool and Arsenal. Fans of those clubs were asking why they appeared so interested in this 21-year-old midfield player. The answer to their questions is there for all to see in how he has started his first season in Serie A.
Just like Hellas, who find themselves in fourth place with 16 points from their opening eight games - a feat they have only bettered once in their history and that was when they won the Scudetto under Osvaldo Bagnoli in 1984-85 - he has been a revelation. Take a glance at the Capocannoniere chart and what you’ll discover is that behind Giuseppe Rossi  and Alessio Cerci , level with Rodrigo Palacio and Marek Hamsik , is Jorginho. The only player other than him to score five times in Europe’s top five leagues from just five shots on target is Pedro at Barça.
He must be a formidable and ruthless goalscoring midfielder then? Well, kind of. From the penalty spot, definitely. That’s where four of his five goals have their origins, a rate of return he credits in part to his ‘mental coach’ Nicola Fittà, who makes him do exercises that “empty the mind.”
But while this freddezza or cool-headedness in a high pressure situation like a penalty kick is undeniably an asset, it only goes so far in explaining the interest in Jorginho. Not far enough at all, really, because there’s a lot to like.
As a kid Jorginho idolised Kaka, but over the course of his development as a footballer the player he has grown to admire most is Andrea Pirlo. “It’ll be tough to get to his level,” Jorginho admits. “... My ideal role is in front of the defence.”
He makes 18.5 more passes per match than any other Hellas player and has attempted 148 more overall, but don’t think of him solely as a regista, directing play and dictating tempo.
Ask coach Andrea Mandorlini what makes Jorginho such a fine prospect and he’ll reply: “His versatility.” He can play anywhere in a midfield trio. If you can forget the obvious contrast in their physical attributes for a moment, Jorginho shares this with Paul Pogba, who can fill in for Pirlo, Arturo Vidal or Claudio Marchisio depending on who’s out at Juventus. “I like to cover more roles,” Jorginho says. “I try to always be in the thick of things, two touches and then go, simple things, I get forward and run a lot: I run 12km a match.”
Everything he does is neat and tidy. He ranks ninth in Serie A for accurate passes  and fourth behind Borja Valero, Pirlo and Francesco Totti for the precision of his exchanges in the final third .
In the stands for Sunday’s 3-2 win against Parma, in which Jorginho scored twice from the spot - he dedicated a goal each to Hellas’ late former president Giovanni Martinelli and his sister who is “going through a hard time at the moment” - were observers from Arsenal and Chelsea.
Also in attendance was Giambattista Venturati, a member of Italy coach Cesare Prandelli’s staff. Able to trace his ancestry back to Vicenza where his great great grandmother Lusiana hailed from, Jorginho has an Italian passport. Called up to play for Italy’s Under-21s he accepted only for some bureaucratic issues to prevent him from doing so. The hope is that they will be resolved. “I feel Italian,” Jorginho insists. “I dream of playing and winning a World Cup with La Nazionale.”
Incidentally, Mandorlini thought Sunday’s performance was his “worst of the season.” Considering that he still garnered a WhoScored.com rating of 8.1 and man of the match award from La Gazzetta gives you some indication of how well he has been doing. Worth €1.5m a year ago, it’s estimated Jorginho might now command a fee of €10m. “If I keep playing the way I am now, maybe I will be worth that,” he said. And what’s certain is there’ll be no shortage of clubs prepared to pay it in order to sign him. A queue is starting to form.
Will Jorginho be at Verona this time next season? If not, where will he be? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below