Chelsea's Jorginho says he was financially exploited by an agent while a youth player in Italy
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 15/06/19 11:42am
Chelsea's Jorginho has claimed he was financially exploited by a football agent when he was a youth player in Italy.
The Italy midfielder, who was born and raised in Brazil, says he was taken to Europe by an agent when he was 15 and signed to Verona, but was struggling to get by on €20 a week.
When another player told him the agent had been taking money, he wanted to return home to Brazil but his mother would not let him give up.
"I was playing in this tournament in Brazil and an agent scouted me. He took me and other players to his soccer school, which was 200 kilometres away from where I lived at the time. I spent two years there," he told Chelseafc.com.
"The idea was he used it to scout players and anyone he thought was good enough he took over to Italy. That's what he did with me when I was 15. He set me up with a trial at Verona in their youth section and they took me on.
"Because Verona weren't in Serie A at that time, they didn't have a youth team, so I played in a local youth team called Berretti. They played in Serie C1/C2. I did that for two years.
"Whilst I was playing for Berretti, I met a fellow Brazilian called Rafael, who was a goalkeeper. I got friendly with him. He was asking me about what I was doing, how long I had been there for, and I told him I was living on €20 a week.
"He said 'hang on a minute, there's something not quite right about that'. He made some enquiries and it turned out my agent had been taking money and I knew nothing about it whatsoever.
"At that point I wanted to give up. I was completely devastated. I was fed up. I phoned home in tears and told my mum I wanted to come home and I didn't want to play football anymore.
"She said 'don't even think about it. You're so close, you've been there for a few years, I won't let you back in the house. You need to stay there and hang tough'. So I stayed."
Jorginho broke into senior football at Verona before signing for Napoli in 2014, where he emerged as an Italy international under Maurizio Sarri, who took him to Chelsea last summer.