The Senegalese international has experienced a meteoric rise in a few years from Pole Emploi to Chelsea.
This Tuesday evening, Edouard Mendy will discover the last four of the Champions League. An unexpected achievement for the Senegalese international a few years ago. Transferred to Chelsea last summer from Rennes, the 29-year-old goalkeeper was unemployed without a club in 2014 and has experienced a meteoric rise in six years, going from amateur football to the last four of the C1 via the reserve of OM, Reims and Rennes. In an interview with France Football, Edouard Mendy returned to the call that changed his life when he was taken on trial at OM.
“I had just refused a CFA club which offered to sign me for 900 euros. By soon being the father of a family, it was inconceivable. A friend had a shop and was looking for someone to run it, I was ready to accept. But Ted Lavie (editor’s note: with whom he played in Cherbourg) calls me: “Edou, I spoke with the coach of the OM reserve goalkeepers. He’s looking for someone, are you interested? “(…) No one other than my parents knew I was going”, explained the Chelsea goalkeeper.
“I come out of the locker room, I see Lass Diarra, Ocampos, Nkoulou… Guys, two weeks ago, I watched them on TV against Juve… (…) It was the three most stressful days. My parents kept asking me, “So they called you?” »On Friday evening, Stéphane (Cassard) told me that my test was validated and that they were waiting for me on Monday. There, there is all the weight that I have supported for a year that leaves. I will remember this call all my life. My mother had held back her tears for a year, she let it all go. I saw the smiles on the faces again, it was too good, ”added Edouard Mendy.
Mendy tells about his time at Pole Emploi in 2014
Thomas Tuchel Édouard Mendy Chelsea 2020-21
The Senegalese international spoke of his early years and his struggles: “At the training center in Le Havre, when I am told that they will have other goalkeepers and that I will not play. It’s a first slap that hurts. I have been at the center for a year, it’s the club in my city, where I want to succeed. I am a pride for my family, my neighborhood, everyone follows that. When you enter a training center, you project yourself up to U18, CFA, pros. And there, in U16, it’s already over and I’ll have to return to play in the neighborhood teams. It’s a double slap that I take. The day it is announced to me, I come home, my father and my mother are disgusted for me. There is no feeling worse than making your parents sad. And there, their face … I said to myself: “It’s not possible, I’m going to put a smile back on it by succeeding.” Even if it’s not here, I’ll be successful elsewhere, that’s for sure. “
“This is real life. No more club, no job, what are you doing now? My mother said to me: “You have no money, but you worked so you are entitled to unemployment.” I don’t know how to do it, my family shows me, helps me. I have an appointment at Pôle Emploi. You arrive, you stand in line, guys yelling at the counter, people complain about the wait. When it’s your turn, the advisor does his best but also as quickly as possible because he still has fifty behind, ”said the Chelsea goalkeeper.
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“Your case is one of many, he’s not going to pay more attention to yours. You are in the system. I do my interview, he says to me: “What are you looking for?” »« A club because I am a football player. »« Ah, but we can’t help you! Basically he’s telling me I need to think of something else. And when a guy you don’t know tells you that, it thinks. I say to myself: “This is it, the football that I was hoping to achieve, must be done away with. “The guy, what he sends me back, that’s it,” added Edouard Mendy.
Today, Edouard Mendy multiplies the clean sheets and he is proud of it: “I know that I have participated in a lot of clean sheets but I do not count them. Because it’s not something that I make my own. The goalie is important as the guy in front is at the end of the action. In the end, I’m the one who has to make the saves, yes. But in front of me, there is a whole structure, ten players who move and complicate the task of the opponent. It’s a team performance and not something that I can take ownership of on my own ”.