Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has finally given his take on why he was overlooked for the 2021 Ballon d’Or shortlist.
The 29-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge from French club Rennes in September 2020. He ousted Kepa Arrizabalaga as the club’s number one keeper and made 31 Premier League appearances last season. But it was his displays in the Champions League that caught the eye.
The Senegal international kept nine cleans sheets as the Blues lifted the trophy. That equalled the record set by Santiago Canizares in 2000-2001 and Keylor Navas in 2015-16.
He has also been in scintillating form this season, with Thomas Tuchel’s side sitting pretty at the top of the table. They have scored 27 goals in 11 top-flight games and conceded just four.
Chelsea team-mates Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku were given the nod. But Mendy was left wondering what he must do to get the recognition he deserves.
He refused to get involved in the decision back in October.
“Do I think it’s an injustice? No, I wouldn’t use that word,” he said. “It’s something that motivates me to go forward, to work and be performant at club level and with my country, and as I said after the game with the national team, it’s the journalists’ freedom of vote and expression, and they vote honourably and conscientiously.”
However, the former Reims ace has now opened up on the issue. And he feels the exclusion may be down to his decision not to represent the country of his birth.
Speaking to Canal+ (via Wiw Sport), he said: “It’s something that motivates me and pushes me to work. Honestly, I am wondering.
“If I had played for France and had taken part in the (European Championships), would we have this debate and this reflection?”
Mendy absent as familiar favourite emerges
It is always tough for a goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or. Although a vital part of any team, it is the strikers and attacking midfielders who usually get the adulation and recognition.
Lionel Messi is favourite to win and claim the trophy for the seventh time. The Paris Saint-Germain ace won it in 2019.