I’m back with my reoccurring message of the season, we need to give Edouard Mendy his flowers – thankfully I am not the only person who feels this way. The final shortlist for the Ballon D’or has been given to the public and there has been outrage regarding Mendy’s omission from the list.
Completely ridiculous to put Gianluigi Donnarumma ahead of the Senegalese international if you ask me and some of his fellow countrymen.
Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly have both spoken out about the decision to leave Mendy off the list. Mendy is a barrier breaker, becoming the first Black African goalkeeper to win the Champions League, yet he is not even given the grace to be shortlisted?
It’s black history month and the same old narrative seems to be the story for black players of today. To be given the recognition they deserve, they need to work twice as hard. It’s a narrative in football and in everyday life for many from that demographic. Some empathise, others dismiss however there’s no obligation to feel sad about this fact. As a Chelsea fan, despite my race, I am absolutely gutted that the goalkeeper who shares the record for the most clean sheet in a Champions League campaign, has not been able to get a sniff into the top 30 players of the world this year.
I can only hope that Mendy takes this and continues to provide stellar performances for the Blues, knowing that what he has done so far in his Chelsea career is enough to warrant that top 30 spots.
Koulibaly said to reporters after Senegal’s 4-1 win over Nambia in their World Cup qualifier:
“It’s a real shame that Edou isn’t one of them [on the list],
“He is the first African goalkeeper to win the Champions League.
“We must continue to work and move forward. We have to do the double [the work] of some people to be well judged.”
Echoing the same level of disappointment, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane responded with strong words in disbelief. Over the international break he spoke out saying:
“It’s unacceptable, I do not understand it”.
It is clear that there is warranted outrage. Not just based on the colour of his skin, but based on the fact that he has worked hard in getting to where he is today. Just seven years ago he was jobless and looking for any opportunity to get back into football. Now he is a Champions League winner and on course to play a crucial role in Chelsea’s title charge.
This conversation is not an easy one to have, but it cannot be avoided forever. There has been a stigma surrounding black goalkeepers that have not been voiced loudly enough. Take a look at former Ajax goalkeeper, Andre Onana. He took to a local news outlet in Holland, NCR and voiced his experiences. He was in talks with an Italian club which he preferred not to name. It seemed like he was assured a move to Italy from Holland until his agent got a call from the club’s CEO.
To his recollection the call when something like this:
“We believe that Onana is a great goalkeeper, but unfortunately we cannot sign him…
“A black goalkeeper would bring us a lot of problems in front of our fans.”
Interesting to say the least.
There are some positives to take from this situation. Mendy is amongst the 10 nominated for the goalkeeper’s Yashin award alongside Gianluigi Donnarumma, Thibaut Courtois, Ederson, Keylor Navas, Kasper Schmeichel, Emiliano Martinez, Manuel Neuer, Jan Oblak and Samir Handanovic.
Humbly, Mendy responds to his omission from the Ballon d’Or shortlist and says,
“In just one year [at Chelsea], it’s a very good thing. I’m not satisfied with that, I have a lot of ambitions but it’s already a good step.
“There will always be debates, whether it’s about me or someone else. It is down to the freedom of the votes of the journalists and they must be respected.”
Do you think Mendy deserves to be in the Ballon D’or shortlist? Follow our new CareFreeChelsea Writer/Presenter Anita Abayomi on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Source by Football London