Ian Wright pays tribute to ‘inspirational’ Chelsea star after FIFA award

Ian Wright

Former Arsenal player Ian Wright has paid tribute to ‘inspirational’ Edouard Mendy after the Chelsea keeper’s outstanding rise was recognised by FIFA.

On Monday, the Senegalese goalie won the Best Fifa men’s goalkeeper award after a superb first campaign at Stamford Bridge, in which he kept a clean sheet in the UEFA Champions League final win over Man City.




Mendy also helped the Blues reach the FA Cup final and secure a top-four finish after displacing Kepa Arrizabalaga as first-choice goalkeeper.

The 29-year-old’s development is even more impressive given he almost walked away from the sport totally in 2016 as he was not able to find a new team.




Lack of options also saw Mendy queue at a local job centre in Normandy six years ago, with his hopes of making it as a professional footballer appearing very bleak.

But Mendy is now rated as one of the best goalkeepers in the world and Wright says his story is ‘unbelievable’ & ‘inspirational’.

‘Let’s talk about Mendy getting best the goalkeeper in the world [award],’ Wright said on his Ringer FC podcast. ‘Did you see the celebrations when the guys were clapping him in the Senegal camp?

‘What it means to those players, his country, for him to get the best goalkeeper in the world… I’m not sure people understand what that means to an African player.




‘You look at where he was six years ago and where he is now and what’s happened. The inspiration that will give to not only goalkeepers in Africa, but goalkeepers in general everywhere.

‘I’m delighted he’s been voted the best goalkeeper in the world. It’s an unbelievable story and I want to hear him tell it at some stage. I’d love to hear him tell that story.’

Mendy missed the start of the Africa Nations Cup in Cameroon after testing positive for coronavirus but returned to Senegal lineup in their goalless draw with Malawi, which confirmed their progress to the next stages.

JB

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