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Kalidou Koulibaly Hits Out At Edouard Mendy's Ballon d'Or Snub

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Kalidou Koulibaly Hits Out At Edouard Mendy's Ballon d'Or Snub

Kalidou Koulibaly has hit out at Edouard Mendy's Ballon d'Or shortlist snub, claiming African players have to work twice as hard for recognition.

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The nominees for this year's Ballon d'Or were announced last week, with an incredible 13 Premier League players amongst the 30 man list.

Chelsea had five in that list, following their Champions League success, with both N'Golo Kante and, more recently, Jorginho having previously been tipped to win the illustrious award.

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One Blues player conspicuous by his absence is goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, with Gianluigi Donnarumma the only keeper on the list, and Napoli centre back Koulibaly isn't happy with the situation.

"It’s a real shame that Edou [Mendy] isn’t one of them. He is the first African goalkeeper to win the Champions League," the Senegal defender said, via Football Italia, when asked about the shortlist.

"We must continue to work and move forward. We have to do the double [the work] of some people to be well judged.

"Edou is a very positive person. We talked about it together. He will continue to fight to be part of it. For me, he has a place among these 30 players."

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Mendy became the first African goalkeeper to win the Champions League. Image: PA Images
Mendy became the first African goalkeeper to win the Champions League. Image: PA Images

Mendy had an instant impact at Chelsea last season, after signing in the summer of 2020 from Rennes, and replaced Kepa Arrizabalaga as the club's number one very soon after arriving.

In March he broke a Premier League record, whilst keeping a clean sheet in the Blues' victory over Liverpool at Anfield, having the best clean sheet record for any keeper with over 10 appearances in the league's history.

He was an extremely important part of the team that won the Champions League, as Thomas Tuchel's side kept out Manchester City in the final, although Mendy didn't have too much to do in that game.

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Africa has two players on this year's Ballon d'Or shortlist, in Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez, but the continent's only winner for the award came in 1995, when George Weah won.

Weah won the Ballon d'Or whilst at AC Milan. Image: PA Images
Weah won the Ballon d'Or whilst at AC Milan. Image: PA Images

Despite early calls for two of Chelsea's European champions to win the award, especially Jorginho who also became a European champion with Italy, Lionel Messi is once again favourite to win.

The PSG forward has six of the awards already and his contribution to Barcelona, plus winning his first silverware with Argentina, makes him the prime candidate to make it seven.

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Messi unsurprisingly picked new teammates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as contenders this year, and Robert Lewandowski, who cruelly missed out last year when they decided against holding the award because of Covid, despite all football taking place.

Karim Benzema was another the 34-year-old mentioned, with the Real Madrid striker admitting it's a childhood dream of his to win it.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Napoli, Chelsea, Serie A, Champions League, Premier League

Ryan Sidle
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