Monday evening saw the announcement that Lionel Messi had won the Ballon d’Or for a record seventh time, while Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas walked away with the Women’s Ballon d’Or.
Throughout the event, other awards were handed out, including the Lev Yashin trophy, which rewards the best goalkeeper in the world that year, as voted by journalists all around the globe.
Among the nominated was Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy, who was instrumental in the Blues’ run to winning the Champions League under Thomas Tuchel, as well as important in their current Premier League run, with the Stamford Bridge side sitting atop the Premier League after 13 games.
There had already been some outrage that the Senegal international had been omitted from the list of nominees for the main prize, and now, with Gianluigi Donnarumma beating him to the Lev Yashin trophy, more have come out to express their frustration at the lack of recognition given to the 29-year-old.
Among those voicing their discontent on Monday evening was Habib Bèye, current Red Star FC manager in France, who told Canal+ his thoughts about the whole thing.
He said, relayed by RMC Sport: “There, it was written on the list. It was written on the list, it was already written for years. It’s even written at FIFA when they post tweets where they put Edouard Mendy without his shirt, in the background and hidden. It’s the reality. You have to listen and stop being a hypocrite.
“The reality is that you’ve seen the statistics. The number of clean sheets by Edouard Mendy is far greater than Donnarumma’s. The season, in its entirety, is much better for Mendy than it is for Donnarumma. We’ve rewarded a player for a month of competition and his season at Milan that wasn’t bad, but I think Edouard Mendy had a better season in its entirety with Chelsea, plus the Champions League”.
Beye continued: “Why give more value to the Euros than the Champions League? What’s an exceptional year? An exceptional year is 12 months and not just one. Let’s stop this hypocrisy to say that there’s the Euros and that it’s an exceptional year. Over 12 months, Edouard Mendy is the best goalkeeper in Europe. It’s not even a debate”.
As to why this has happened, the manager had an idea: “Because African and Senegalese. His national team doesn’t shine like Italy can these days in the mass media. These days, the belief is, and even managers say it, that the CAN is a small tournament, and all these things mean we don’t recognise an African international, or a Pole like Lewandowski, like you recognise a European or Italian international like Donnarumma.
“We’ve rewarded one month of competition and a goalkeeper who was transferred. Edouard Mendy has been better than Donnarumma over 12 months”.