Edouard Mendy, from the Honorary Division to the Champions League

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in the colors of Rennes, during a match against Metz, in Longeville-lès-Metz, December 4, 2019.

Tuesday, September 29, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy played, against English club Tottenham, his first match for Chelsea. The London team has relieved itself of 25 million euros to buy this giant of 1.98 meters at the Stade Rennes.

An accomplishment for this 28-year-old player with a winding career, passed through the Honorary Division, the French championship, unemployment or even the B team of Olympique de Marseille, and whose first professional contract was signed only in the summer of 2016, when he arrived in Reims. For the first time in his career, he is therefore preparing to play in the Champions League, where he could face his cousin Ferland Mendy, the French international of Real Madrid.

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Edouard Mendy, born in Montivilliers, near Le Havre, of a Senegalese mother and a Bissau-Guinean father, revealed himself late in Reims, then in Rennes. He had nevertheless joined the very famous training center of Havre Athletic Club (HAC), in 2005, but the adventure was completed after a year. The young goalkeeper then headed for another club in the port city, the Municipalities of Le Havre, very far from a professional world that he always promised himself to integrate.

I had it several times in training, reports the Franco-Senegalese Abasse Ba, former player of Le Havre, at the time coach of the B team and now at the head of the national under-17s. What struck me about Mendy was his seriousness, his determination. He was always on time, while others arrived late, very relaxed. Sure, he played in the Honorary Division, but he never gave up on the idea of ​​turning professional. It was his project and he was preparing for it.

Registered at Pôle emploi

He had – a little – approached AS Cherbourg (which then played in the third division), going from goalkeeper number 3 to holder. But instead of joining a Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 training, Edouard Mendy, also holder of a pro commerce baccalaureate, had registered with Pôle emploi after his departure from Cherbourg. For a while he even considered responding favorably to a friend’s offer to run a store.

A phone call from Olympique de Marseille, which allows him to don the club’s number 3 costume, tears him out of unemployment and an uncertain future. At OM, however, he is content with a few appearances with the B team (National 2) and still does not see arriving this first professional contract so desired.

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But everything changed when Reims, then playing in Ligue 2, tried a sports bet with this player visibly doomed to frequent the amateur divisions. Jean-Pierre Caillot, the president of Reims, discovers the existence, thanks to his networks, of this lanky guardian. “ He was 24 years old, so Edouard was no longer a hope. But we knew that he already had experience and that he could take a step forward. We brought him in for a salary of 6,000 euros per month, in a role of understudy », Explains the manager.

In addition to his purely sporting qualities, Jean-Pierre Caillot discovers an ambitious personality and a man very comfortable in society. ” He quickly integrated. He is an intelligent boy, who communicates a lot. It made him a leader, whether in the locker room or on the pitch. His temperament, his will to succeed, his investment in work allowed him to achieve his goals. “

Wear the Teranga Lions jersey

The excellent season he achieved in 2018-2019, when Stade de Reims returned to Ligue 1, pushed Jean-Pierre Caillot to extend his contract in January 2019 and to increase his salary.

Rennes, despite competition from foreign clubs, will nevertheless succeed in making the president of Reims bend. ” In Rennes, he was offered to play in a team qualified for the Europa League, with a bigger salary. And this is again what happened with his transfer to Chelsea. It was quite normal for him to accept. He wants to play at the high level, to earn money. It is logical when we have known the amateur divisions, unemployment, the galley … In a few years, everything has accelerated with the signing of his first professional contract, the L1, the L2, England, the Senegalese selection. It’s a sporting adventure, but also a human one », Specifies Jean-Pierre Caillot.

Edouard Mendy indeed became Senegalese international in November 2018, against Equatorial Guinea (2-0). This choice to wear the Teranga Lions jersey has long been accepted, even if, a few weeks after his arrival in Reims, he had participated in a rally in Guinea-Bissau, ” to please my father, who was very ill. But the selection I expected was that of Senegal He explained later. A country he did not discover thanks to football: before becoming international, he regularly visited the family home in Casamance. Eleven months after the Lions’ last game, Mendy will regain his selection for friendly matches against Morocco in Rabat on October 9, and against Mauritania in Thiès, four days later.


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