In 2015 the name of Edouard Mendy was registered in the unemployment offices of Le Havre (France) as a applicant for a job as a professional footballer and was even looking for a job on social networks. Six years later, and although a rib injury put him in doubt about his participation, he was in the Champions League final with Chelsea, who became champion for the second time in their history after beating Manchester City by 1-0.
The Senegalese international goalkeeper, who hasn't had to collect a ball from his nets in 25 games this season, and who relegated Kepa Arrizabalaga and Argentine Wilfredo Caballero to the bench, was under sticks on Saturday in Porto against Manchester City. And it was the climax of a race riddled with obstacles and forged step by step from the ground up.
Mendy was born near Le Havre, making his debut at the age of 10 in his neighborhood team and soon drawing the attention of Le Havre Athletic Club.
"He had a certain dexterity, explosiveness, a morphology that allowed him to have a certain presence, but also an attitude, although he is a discreet boy," recalls Michel Courel, goalkeeping coach of the Le Havre quarry. "He was very applied and very serious, he was a very motivated boy," he adds.
Edouard Mendy's Broken Dreams
At the age of 19, he signed for Cherbourg, in the French third division, and soon aroused the praise around him, recalls its president Gérard Gohel. But three years later the club fell to the fourth category and Mendy chose to end that stage. Different representatives promised him tests in Ligue 1 clubs or abroad, but none of those promises crystallized.
Fall 2014, Mendy is 22 years old, with a business education and many broken dreams. But he goes back to training at the Le Havre quarry. "He's a great worker, the first thing he thought was to work, to be prepared," says Courel. But the months pass and his situation did not change. He often thought of leaving everything. On the advice of his mother, he signed up for the employment offices.
Nine months later Marseille offers him a test, and in the summer of 2015 he offered to be the third goalkeeper. He played eight games with the reserve team that season, in which he made progress mostly with his foot.
"He's a great competitor, a great worker," explains Stéphane Cassard, then Marseille's goalkeeping coach. "He has a great wingspan, he occupies a lot of space under the sticks."
The millionaire transfer of Edouard Mendy
In the spring of 2016, his name reached the ears of Jean-Pierre Caillot, president of Reims, then in Ligue 2, who is looking for a substitute goalkeeper. "I told him: Mark it as No. 2, it will be your No. 1," says Gérard Gohel.
At the age of 24, Edouard Mendy finally signed his first professional contract. A year later he became a starter and was promoted to Ligue 1 with Reims. In 2019 he arrived at Rennes and in August 2020 he was transferred to Chelsea for more than 24 million euros (about $ 29 million), a record for a goalkeeper in the French league.
A gift from heaven for all of his old clubs, who shared 5% of the transfer as compensation for training, and who saw how one of his former members raised the Orejona.