Great architect of Chelsea’s qualification for the Champions League final on Wednesday against Real Madrid, Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (29) is having a dream season with the English club. If the old Rennais deserves glory and praise, his career was far from being a long quiet river.
Disgusted Karim Benzema. The one who deprived the Real Madrid striker of a new Champions League final is Edouard Mendy, 29, Chelsea goalkeeper since the summer of 2020. Author of two saves as decisive as they are spectacular against the former Lyonnais, the goalkeeper of the Blues largely contributed to the qualification of his team, winner of Real 2-0, for the final of the Champions League.
On May 29 in Istanbul, the Senegalese will try to become European champion against Manchester City. Bluffing since his arrival in London last summer, Mendy can savor his success. Because the native of Montivilliers went to look for it. From AS Cherbourg in National to the Olympique de Marseille reserve, then from Reims to Stade Rennais, he slowly but surely climbed the steps to glory. But nothing was easy …
Dreams of England soaring because of an agent
In Cherbourg after training in Le Havre, he discovered life alone, far from his family. “My years there have reinforced my idea of reaching the top level”, he confided two years ago in the program “Le Vestiaire” on RMC Sport. But the high level is already moving away. Summer 2014, the Norman club is administratively demoted. “They had no more money to go back to CFA,” recalls Mendy. The galleys begin …
The young goalkeeper no longer has a club. An agent assures him that he has contacts in England. “He asks me not to answer the requests that I could have in National or in CFA. I say to him” OK as long as you bring me there. “” But Edouard Mendy disillusioned. Days and weeks go by and nothing happens. The guard, who has no more news from this agent, takes his trouble patiently, prepares alone with his brother. Concern mounts when his calls go unanswered. “On August 31, he sends me a message to tell me that the market is blocked over there and that he is not going to be able to bring me. I’m on my butt, I don’t expect that.”
Relegation, employment and paternity pole
Without a club, Edouard Mendy falls from a great height. “I don’t even know how to register for pole emploi. It’s a new life that begins. I find myself unemployed, I am going to point to pole emploi and I leave football. I have the chance to have been trained in Le Havre. Michel Courel, the goalkeeper coach who trained Steve (Mandanda), Brice Samba, Zacharie Boucher kindly took me back to training with the CFA team. . A year without a club is a long time. ” The then 22-year-old caretaker is getting ready to become a dad for the first time and worries about the future. “It was really complicated, I was torn between the fact that I have to feed my family and the fact that I wanted to continue football. I had the will to hang on because I wanted my son to be proud of me. , that he tells himself that his father has not given up, that he can relate to that if he has problems in life. “
Learning with Mandanda
After this parenthesis, Edouard Mendy landed at OM in the midst of storm Marcelo Bielsa. El Loco has just slammed the door to everyone’s surprise on the evening of the 1st day. Coach of the goalkeepers, Stéphane Cassard reassures Edouard Mendy. “I wasn’t too familiar with how Bielsa worked. Some players were happy, others disappointed.” In Marseille, he rubs shoulders with Steve Mandanda. “I was just learning by watching him.” The young porter is also progressing in contact with Yohann Pelé with whom the current is going well: “He gave me good advice on and off the field. He too had some problems. He told me to beware of people in the field. football.”
The outbreak in Ligue 2 in Reims
More self-confident, the very tall goalkeeper (he measures 1.97m) finds the full measure of his talent from 2016 under the colors of the Stade de Reims. First in Ligue 2 as an understudy for Johann Carrasso then in the skin of number 1. Author of very convincing performances, he finally discovers the high level to which he aspired at his beginnings. And of course Ligue 1. In Champagne, all the fans remember a brilliant, hardworking and humble goalkeeper.
Except that after all his disappointments, Mendy now refuses to project himself. His talent will nevertheless make the difference. Having become a Senegalese international, he reached a milestone by joining Stade Rennais in 2019. Then another a year later by signing to Chelsea for a transfer of 24 million euros. The Premier League then discovers its prowess. Repeated blows of brilliance until his duels won Wednesday night against Karim Benzema. He who has for only line in the prize list a title of champion of Ligue 2 with Reims in 2018 could soon add that coveted by all the greatest players on the planet: “winner of the Champions League.”