Edouard Mendy’s footballing journey has been quite exceptional.
Chelsea’s new number one made his Premier League debut today against Crystal Palace, keeping a clean sheet as the Blues secured a 4-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
Fellow summer signing Ben Chilwell, Kurt Zouma and Jorginho (x2) grabbed the crucial goals for the Blues, earning Frank Lampard a much-needed three points.
Chelsea looked far more assured at the back with Chilwell and Mendy in the starting XI, the latter a commanding presence between the posts.
It really has been a meteoric rise for Mendy, a player who’s had to earn the privilege of being a Senegal international and the number one ‘keeper at one of the biggest clubs on the planet the hard way.
Six years ago, the 28-year-old was actually unemployed after being released by French fourth tier side Cherbourg.
A deal with an unknown League One club then collapsed and it appeared as if Mendy’s days as a professional footballer were all but over.
The Senegalese ‘keeper spent a year unemployed and out of the game, telling So Foot magazine: “For a football player or anybody else, being unemployed is like getting slapped across the face.
“Repeated failures leave marks on you, and you start thinking that maybe you are not made for it.”
But his road to redemption commenced after returning to boyhood club Le Havre, where he trained as hard as he could without being paid.
His determination was rewarded, though, scoring a move to Marseille as the team’s fourth-choice ‘keeper.
“I reached a new level in Marseille,” Mendy added. “I trained with the pros throughout the year, which you normally would not expect as a No. 4 ‘keeper.”
In 2016, a newly confident Mendy sought regular playing time and earned a move to then Ligue 2 club Reims.
It was here where the Senegalese’s career changed forever. The 2017/18 season saw Mendy become the team’s number one and he was pivotal in the club’s promotion to Ligue 1 that very campaign.
His heroics earned him move to Rennes in the summer of 2018, where he established himself as one of the best ‘keepers in French football.
Mendy’s brilliance between the sticks helped Rennes finish third in Ligue 1 last season, the 6’6″ giant keeping nine clean sheets in total.
Chelsea legend Petr Cech was desperate to bring him to west London and after his debut today, it’s easy to see why.
He’s a tough ol’ cookie and the Blues may have finally found a viable successor to Thibaut Courtois.
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