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Edouard Mendy's Remarkable Journey To Champions League Semi-Final

Josh Lawless

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Edouard Mendy's Remarkable Journey To Champions League Semi-Final

Featured Image Credit: Edouard Mendy Instagram & PA Images

Six years ago, Edouard Mendy was without a club and without any direction.

Mendy had been released AS Cherbourg and after a mooted transfer to a League One club fell through, he queued up at the local job centre,

23 years of age at the time, the goalkeeper had a year on the dole and the period coincided with his girlfriend falling pregnant.

He thought his professional career was over before it had really even started but Mendy's persistence ultimately paid off.

"If someone had said to me six years ago when I didn't have a club that I would end up here, I wouldn't have even bothered looking at or listening to them," Mendy reflected in an interview with The Guardian.

"I did genuinely have my doubts about whether I would carry on. But I look at it now and say that it's thanks to those moments that I am where I am today, and my family has also been able to benefit from where I've got to with my football.

"I had to take unemployment support at that time so I could dedicate myself totally to football ... It was incredibly difficult and also my partner was expecting our first baby. And so the unemployment support wasn't going to be enough for us, we needed something else, and so I did start looking for other work.

"But then I had the opportunity to go to Marseille and I was given a trial there. Fortunately for me it worked, and when it did it was like a complete relief for me. Because one year to go without football is an incredibly long time. I had many, many doubts during that time. But it was thanks to my family who helped so much in those moments to keep me strong."

He trained unpaid after returning to former club Le Havre and would eventually earn a trial at Marseille, who took a punt on him and gave him a contract to play for their B side.

Mendy played in the reserves during the 2015/16 season and secured a move to Reims, who he helped lift the Ligue 2 title in 2017/18 after playing 34 games and conceding just 24 goals.

An impressive first term in Ligue One prompted Rennes to snap up the Senegal international for £3.5 million.

In his one and only season at Roazhon Park, Mendy played a key role in the club sealing automatic qualification for the Champions League for the first time in their history thanks to a third place finish in a season cut short due to COVID-19.

Chelsea went on to sign him in a £22 million move and now, six years on from being at rock bottom, he will play in a Champions League semi-final against his cousin Ferland and Real Madrid.

Image: PA
Image: PA

His story serves as a reminder to never give up on your dreams.

Topics: Edouard Mendy, Chelsea, Football, France

Josh Lawless
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