It's a real shame – Koulibaly surprised by Mendy's Ballon d'Or snub

By Sports Desk October 12, 2021

Kalidou Koulibaly says "it is a real shame" Senegal team-mate Edouard Mendy is not in the running to win this year's Ballon d'Or after an impressive first year at Chelsea.

Mendy joined Chelsea from Rennes last September and did not take long to oust Kepa Arrizabalaga as first choice between the sticks at Stamford Bridge.

He played a key part in the Blues' 2020-21 Champions League triumph, the 29-year-old's nine clean sheets the most by a goalkeeper in their debut campaign in the competition.

That includes a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Manchester City in the final as Mendy became the first African goalkeeper to lift the famous trophy.

Mendy's 19 shutouts in all competitions this calendar year, meanwhile, has been bettered only by Manchester City's Ederson (20) among keepers in Europe's top five leagues.

He was not included on the 30-player Ballon d'Or shortlist last week, however, and Koulibaly has suggested that could be down to his nationality.

"It's a real shame that Edou isn't included. He is the first African goalkeeper to win the Champions League," Koulibaly told reporters while away on international duty with Senegal.

"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."

Gianluigi Donnarumma is the only goalkeeper in contention to win football's most prestigious individual accolade after helping Italy to Euro 2020 success.

The Paris Saint-Germain star's save percentage of 70.8 in 2021 is considerably lower than Mendy's 77.23 at club level when taking all competitions into account.

Indeed, only Keylor Navas – who Donnarumma is battling with for a starting spot at PSG – boasts a better save percentage (78.38) than Mendy among those to have played at least 15 times since January 1.

Napoli defender Koulibaly is also not part of the shortlist for the award, with Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez the only African players selected.

Five of Mendy's Chelsea club-mates were included in the shortlist, however, with Mason Mount, Romelu Lukaku, Cesar Azpilicueta, N'Golo Kante and Jorginho nominated. 

Related items

  • Coman one of the top wingers in the world when fit, says Nagelsmann Coman one of the top wingers in the world when fit, says Nagelsmann

    Julian Nagelsmann claimed Kingsley Coman is "one of the top wingers in the world" when fit and said the Frenchman must remain patient for a chance at Bayern Munich.

    Coman, 25, joined Bayern initially on a two-year loan from Juventus in 2015 and subsequently made the move permanent.

    The France international underwent a minor heart operation in September and has managed just 84 minutes in the Bundesliga this term with the Bavarian giants.

    Nagelsmann, however, insisted that Coman ranks among the best in his position on his day as he addressed questions over his rotational policy ahead of Bayern's DFB-Pokal clash with Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

    "I've emphasised many times that King [Coman] is an amazing person who I really enjoy working with," Nagelsmann, who is self-isolating due to a positive COVID-19 test, told reporters on Tuesday.

    "I think he's one of the top wingers in the world when he's fit. I would like to work with him for many years to come."

    Among Bayern players, Coman leads the charts for dribbles completed across all competitions (500) since his debut on September 12, 2015 – Thiago Alcantara ranks second on that list, some 124 behind the Frenchman.

    Indeed, the former Juventus attacker has attempted 276 more dribbles than any of his other team-mates in that same period while scoring 42 times and recording 40 assists.

    Coman also ranks fifth at the club in this time-span when it comes to chances created, sitting behind Thiago (279), Robert Lewandowski (305), Joshua Kimmich (521) and Thomas Muller (605), with the 274 opportunities he has worked for Bayern.

    However, starting chances under Hansi Flick and subsequently Nagelsmann have diminished as Coman seemingly falls behind Serge Gnabry, Muller, Leroy Sane and now Jamal Musiala.

    Nagelsmann appreciates the quality of depth he has in that position with his new side, as he attempts to utilise the abundance of talent he has at his disposal.

    "We're very well positioned on the wing positions," Nagelsmann said.

    "All the players are in exceptional form. It takes a lot of courage, everyone plays or with a certain workload control. Not everyone agrees. I can understand that. But they are all healthy and we want to take advantage of that.

    "In the last few years this has not always been the case, so we mustn't complain now. And maybe they will play at the same time."

  • Jorginho dreaming of World Cup success and Ballon d'Or crown Jorginho dreaming of World Cup success and Ballon d'Or crown

    Jorginho is dreaming of winning the World Cup with Italy while he played down the potential of him winning the Ballon d'Or.

    The Chelsea midfielder enjoyed glory for club and country after winning the Champions League with Thomas Tuchel's men and Euro 2020 with Italy, becoming just the 10th player to achieve the double in the same year.

    His performances across the two competitions led him to be named the UEFA Men's Player of the Year in August as the award's top three was comprised exclusively of midfielders for the first time in 11 years.

    Indeed, at the European Championships across June and July, Jorginho topped Italy's charts for recoveries (48) and interceptions (25) while only Spain's Aymeric Laporte (644) made more successful passes than the 29-year-old's 484.

    With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in his sights, Jorginho described winning the tournament as his lifelong ambition while remaining unsure on who would claim the Ballon d'Or.

    "I don't know honestly. If you don't dream anymore you can stop playing football," Jorginho responded to Sky Sport Italia when asked about the individual award.

    "My dream is to win the next match. Then I dream of the World Cup, who is the child who has never dreamed of it?

    "I never imagined I would get this far, but I dreamed and all I've done is to chase my dream, now I'm living it and I'm proud.

    "I am happy to give my family pride. And another dream could come true in the winter of 2022."

    The midfielder has enjoyed another positive start to the new Premier League term with Chelsea, who sit a point clear at the top of the league after nine games.

    Jorginho ranks sixth for minutes played under Tuchel in the top flight this term, racking up 559 minutes of action, and ranks fourth for successful passes (363) as he remains the Blues' pivot between attack and defence.

    When asked about his club form, Jorginho replied: "We are on the right path, we are working hard, and we must continue like this.

    "The more you work together, the more you understand what you need to do, learning new movements and creating an increasingly winning mentality.

    "All this gives you solidity, confidence and makes you grow as a group. And that's what's happening at Chelsea."

  • Nagelsmann warns Kimmich there are 'easier interview topics' after midfielder's COVID-19 vaccination admission Nagelsmann warns Kimmich there are 'easier interview topics' after midfielder's COVID-19 vaccination admission

    Julian Nagelsmann revealed he contacted Joshua Kimmich after the Germany midfielder hit the headlines as he admitted he had not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

    Bayern Munich, who are preparing to face Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal second round, have been without Nagelsmann after the former RB Leipzig head coach tested positive for coronavirus.

    However, it was Kimmich who was the main point of interest after Bayern defeated Hoffenheim 4-0 as the 26-year-old explained he had not been vaccinated because he wanted further research to be conducted first.

    Former Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was quick to assure Kimmich should do the responsible thing and get vaccinated, though Nagelsmann attempted to put an end to the saga at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

    "A lot of topics are often chewed through," Nagelsmann told reporters from his home during his virtual conference. "It is important that there is an exchange of views. Everyone then has to decide for themselves whether they have to give their mustard to everything.

    "There are experts, they should express their opinion. Whether the federal government has to do that now, it has to know for itself. I am happy when everyone can concentrate on their job again."

    Nagelsmann, who has been operating from his homemade "data centre", then revealed he had contacted Kimmich to discuss the interview while admitting it was up to the individual whether they should get vaccinated or not.

    "I wrote to him after the interview," he continued. "I told him that there are certainly easier interview topics. That is the price you pay when you are in public.

    "Enough has been said about it now. I also gave my opinion of what I thought about the vaccination – I now know how the symptoms progress.

    "From this and in exchange with doctors I also noticed that the disease behaves differently after the vaccination. Nevertheless, it is up to you to decide whether he can be vaccinated."

    Nagelsmann will not be fit enough to return for the visit to Gladbach, though he could return against Union Berlin on Saturday.

    His side have won all three games in his absence, dispatching Leverkusen, Benfica and Hoffenheim by an aggregate score of 13-1.

    However, the 34-year-old revealed he finds comments that Bayern do not need a coach in his absence disrespectful, pointing towards the crucial interventions that are sometimes required on the touchline.

    "The team is very good, no question about it," he added.

    "I also have a very well-functioning coaching team. They are a tight-knit bunch, and we know each other very well.

    "But I don't lie around at home and don't work on anything. I think it is sometimes a bit disrespectful when you claim that the team doesn't need a coach. There are always moments when you should intervene."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.