While they might be rivals on Premier League pitches, Liverpool’s Sadio Mané and Chelsea’s Édouard Mendy remain compatriots and play alongside each other for Senegal.
The pair are currently on international duty, and following the 4-1 win against Namibia in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, many of their stars were asked about the recent release of the 30 nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
One of the big absences, in their eyes, was that of the Chelsea goalkeeper, who played a vital role in his team lifting the Champions League last season, keeping a clean sheet in nine of his 12 games in the competition, conceding just three against Stade Rennais, FC Porto and Real Madrid.
Mané was the strongest to react to his compatriot being left out, and, relayed by Onze Mondial, said: “It’s inadmissible. I don’t understand it. It’s regrettable”.
Mendy, who was also asked about it, wasn’t as vocal as his national teammate about the whole thing, seemingly happy to be part of the Lev Yashin trophy nominees.
He said: “As I’ve said, I’m honestly already very proud to represent my country among the 10 best goalkeepers in the world. In a year, it’s already a very good thing. I’m not resting on my laurels, I have a lot of ambitions, but it’s already a good step.
“Then, there will always be debates, whether it be about me or someone else. It’s simply the journalists’ freedom of vote and their freedom of expression and you have to respect that”.
If there’s one thing we can, however, all agree on, it’s the consistency of Mendy’s form ever since he transferred from Stade Rennais to Chelsea in the summer of 2020, as the Senegal international has kept 29 clean sheets in 53 games, conceding just 34 goals in the process.