Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy became the first African to be named as 2021 Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper after lifting the Champions League with the Blues.
As per FIFA.com, the award is given to the most outstanding goalkeeper in men’s football.
“The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper Award is given to the most outstanding goalkeeper in men’s football as voted for by an international jury comprising the current coaches of all men’s national teams (one per team), current captains of all men’s national teams (one per team), one specialist journalist from each territory represented by a national team and fans registered on FIFA.com.”
This year’s award recognised players for their performances from October 2020 to August 2021.
The Senegal international beat off competition from Gianluigi Donnarumma of PSG and Italy as well as Germany & Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer.
Alisson Becker and Kasper Schmeichel missed out on the top three as Mendy lifted the trophy.
The goalkeeper has been in fantastic form for Chelsea since arriving under Frank Lampard and capped off a wonderful year by lifting the UEFA Champions League in his first season with the club.
Mendy, born in France for Senegalese parents, crossed a lot of obstacles to reach this level.
He waited till the age of 24 to sign his first professional contract for Reims in French Ligue 2.
Before that, he spent his career in amateur clubs without succeeding in convincing elite clubs, to the level that he wanted to give up football.
Finally, he stayed in this game he loves and where he rose through the ranks from Reims, a club no longer playing the leading roles in France, to Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in England and the world via Rennes, the French club that introduced him to European competitions.
Accustomed to difficulties, his first experience in the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt 2019 was stopped by a finger injury during the warm-up for the group stage match against Kenya.
But Edouard Mendy came back stronger, regaining his place as Teranga Lions first choice goalkeeper.
His current AFCON appearance was delayed after contracting COVID-19, before being cleared medically and might start this Tuesday against Malawi for the Group B game in Bafoussam.
The award is a boast for Mendy as he seeks to help Senegal, one of the favorites for this TotalEnergies AFCON title.