By Mukwuzi Joseph
Napoli and Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly says his compatriot Edouard Mendy should have been nominated for the Ballon d’Or
The Blues goalkeeper enjoyed a stellar first season in English football at Chelsea , capping it off by keeping a clean sheet in the Champions League final as the Blues beat Manchester City 1-0.
Mendy has enjoyed a remarkable rise since his modest beginnings in French football, having made his senior debut with lower league Cherbourg 10 years ago before going on to play for Marseille’s B team, then Reims and Rennes.
It was from the latter than Chelsea signed him for £22m in September last year, and he has since gone on prove himself as one of the very best goalkeepers in the Premier League
Koulibaly thinks that should have been recognised on the Ballon d’Or shortlist, which was released last week.
“It’s a real shame that Edou isn’t one of them [on the list],” he told reporters after Senegal’s 4-1 win over Namibia in a World Cup qualifier.
“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.
“Edou is a very positive person. We talked about it together. He will continue to fight to be part of it. For me, he has a place among these 30 players.”
Italy’s Euro 2020 winner Ginaluigi Donnarumma is the only goalkeeper to make the 30-man shortlist, with the stopper having swapped AC Milan for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
There are just five defenders on the list, including Mendy’s Chelsea teammate Cesar Azpilicueta who lifted the Champions League for the Blues as captain.
N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku are the three other Blues players nominated.
The full 30-man shortlist:
Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
Leonardo Bonucci ( Juventus ), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Simon Kjær (AC Milan), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Bruno Fernandes ( Manchester United ), Pedri ( Barcelona), Luka Modric ( Real Madrid ), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Jorginho (Chelsea), Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Harry Kane ( Tottenham), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Lionel Messi (PSG), Neymar (PSG), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Mohamed Salah ( Liverpool ), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (PSG)