I'm an Arsenal star who almost won Ballon d'Or… but I nearly quit football as a teenager after my agent stole from me | The Sun

JORGINHO has won the Champions League, European Championship and come third in the Ballon d'Or during his illustrious career.

He is aiming to add a Premier League title to his already-enviable trophy collection with Arsenal this season.

But his career nearly ended before it had even got off the ground when he was betrayed by someone that he thought had been looking after his best interests.

Born in Brazilian coastal town Imbituba, Jorginho moved to Italy as a teenager in order to chase his football dream.

During his early years in Hellas Verona's academy he had to make do with very little while living in a monastery.

Little did he know that things needn't have been so difficult.



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Opening up while appearing on the The Athletic Football Podcast., Jorginho revealed: "Basically I went to Italy, I was getting 20 euros per week, I was living in a monastery.

"We wouldn't see the priest, there was one part with the priest but there was this other part with a corridor of bedrooms for students and young players – I used to live in there with five boys.

"There were six of us in the room and we were treated so well. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner there and at that point when I went there I was 15.

"We used to live with 20 euros per week for one-and-a-half years. After one-and-a-half years I found out that the agent took money. I don't want to say how much, but in that situation it was a lot.

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"I found out. I went crazy, for me, football was over in that moment. I wanted to go back home. I wanted to give up. I called home crying and I said 'this is enough for me'."

Luckily for the midfielder, his nearest and dearest talked him around.

"I missed so much, I missed my teenage years, I missed my friends, my family," he added.

"I missed home and I'm living with 20 euros per week. I can't help my mum and my dad so what am I doing here?

"I called home crying and fortunately I had parents who said no to me. They said you've come to far now so you're not coming back.

"At that time I was training with the first team, I was 17 and I was training with the first team and my parents said no, you are too close, you cannot give up now.

"They convinced me to stay fortunately and then things started to change."

On his former agent, he added: "I was 17 and I didn't have a pre-contract, nothing. In that situation it was unusual because another boy had one even though he wasn't training with the first team.

"I asked my agent why I didn't have a pre-contract and he used to say, 'sorry, they don't want to do one for you.'

"Then I met one of my best friends and he spoke to his agent about it. It came out that basically the team would speak with him because I was underage – he would ask for more money and tell me that the team didn't want to have a contract.

"I consider myself a good guy and I thought my dad was right, this world wasn't right for me. But then I met good people."

During a previous piece for the Players' Tribune, Jorginho recounted the reality of life in Hellas Verona's academy.

He said: "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."

Jorginho, now 31, went on to burst onto the scene with Hellas Verona's first team, earning a switch to Napoli in 2014.

After nearly winning the Serie A title, the midfielder followed Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea in 2018.

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Four-and-a-half years later he moved to Arsenal, where he is currently thriving under Mikel Arteta.

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