From being scammed and unemployed to winning the Champions League and the first African Cup of Nations in the entire history of Senegal. This is the story of Edouard Mendy, the goalkeeper who was not going to be one and received the FIFA The Best award.
By Facundo Di Bona (@facudibona).
Edouard Mendy was born on March 1, 1992 in France, but chose to play for Senegal in honor of his mother’s country of origin.
It was not the only national team that called him: Guinea-Bissau, the country where his father was born, he summoned him and the player accepted, but when he had to go to official matches he refused.
So happy for Edouard Mendy, what a player, what a man ? pic.twitter.com/iM802U8KXE
— ✈️ (@Arrizabalager) February 6, 2022
We will not deviate. This is what Edouard Mendy had to say:
“When Guinea-Bissau called me for the two private teams in Portugal, my father was very ill, almost dying, and I wanted to give him the joy of playing for his country. But my dream has always been to represent the Senegal team, where my mother comes from”.
Fanaticized by soccer along with his cousin Ferland Mendy, today a Real Madrid player, and with the dream of being a professional player, his parents signed him up for the Le Havre Caucriauville club at the age of 7.
They saw potential in him, but he could never be more than his teammates, being a substitute on most occasions and taking a new course towards Cherbourg, a club that would not renew him at 22 years of age.
In 2011, 19-year-old Édouard Mendy came to AS Cherbourg in the French 3rd Division to be a 3rd choice goalkeeper.
9 years after that he will replace the most expensive goalkeeper ever at Chelsea.
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) September 22, 2020
At that moment, problems would be unleashed for Édouard, being scammed by his own representative, who assured him that he had a contract with a team from the English 3rd division, when in reality it was all a lie.
At the age of 22, the young Edouard Mendy was unemployed and waiting for a baby. After signing up to collect state aid, the doorman began to analyze taking another path of life since he was not enough to raise a daughter.
He started out selling clothes and training for free with his first club, and stayed that way for a whole year.
Edouard Mendy registered unemployed and was ready to quit football, age 22. A friend recommended him to Marseille, where he became 4th choice goalkeeper. Aged 29, he has won the Champions League and AFCON, keeping clean sheets in both finals.
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) February 6, 2022
In July 2015, an old teammate told him that Olympique Marseille was conducting goalkeeping tests and Mendy did not hesitate.
The test was good, the goalkeeper stayed to play for the second team and signed his first professional contract at the age of 24.
With ambition between eyebrows, Edouard decided to go to Stade Reims of the French second division.
At Reims he had a first year as a substitute, but the next he became the goalkeeper and they got promotion to Ligue 1 with Mendy starting in all the games.
— Takudzwa Noel Mwashaenyi (@Tkaynoel) August 21, 2020
After one season in the top flight and having spent three years – his longest – Stade Rennais set his sights on Mendy for nearly €8m.
It was only one season that he defended Rennais’ goal because Petr Cech, Chelsea’s history, recommended the club put up the 30 million euros necessary to take over the services of the Senegalese.
What followed was something of a movie: he landed in London and took over the Blues bow with a record of just one goal against in his first eight games.
? Champions League
? Super Cup
? Africa Cup of Nations
? FIFA The Best Men's Goalkeeper
? UEFA Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year
All in under 10 months for Édouard Mendy… ? pic.twitter.com/nPkJNHaGgl
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) February 6, 2022
Sunday was a day of vindication for Edouard Mendy. The young man who was born in France and decided to honor his mother by wearing the Senegal shirt managed to lift the first African Cup of Nations for the country he represents.