African All Stars

Edouard Mendy: Chelsea goalkeeper sets Champions League record against Real Madrid

10:50 AM WAT 06/05/2021
Edouard Mendy Chelsea 2020-21
The Senegal international has kept more clean slates in the competition than any goalkeeper from the Premier League

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has set a Champions League record having kept a clean sheet in the 2-0 defeat of Real Madrid.

The 29-year-old has not leaked a goal in eight encounters out of 11 in the current campaign. That is the most in a single season by any goalkeeper playing for an English team in the history of the competition.

This also meant that the Londoners have kept 18 clean sheets out of 24 matches under manager Thomas Tuchel in all competitions (75%), compared with 26 in 84 games under his predecessor Frank Lampard (31%).

The Senegal international was lured from Ligue 1 outfit Rennes in a £22m ($31m) deal as the six-time English top-flight kings sought to find greater stability between the sticks as costly errors had crept into Kepa Arrizabalaga’s game.

He has since proven to be one of the bargain signings, making crucial saves for the Stamford Bridge giants since the start of January.

In the first leg fixture played at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, the Blues took the lead through Christian Pulisic. However, Zinedine Zidane’s Los Blancos clawed their way back courtesy of Karim Benzema’s effort as the game ended 1-1.

Knowing what was at stake, the Spaniards traveled to England with their guns blazing, however, Mendy was at his best to deny the 13-time European kings from wreaking havoc.

Ten minutes into the encounter, he was forced to make a smart save as Toni Kroos sent the ball towards goal after the visitors had worked the ball around the Chelsea half with precision, putting together at least 20 passes.

He also produced another brilliant stop in the 26th minute. Benzema made a fine turn on the edge of the box to find space away from Thiago Silva. The Frenchman bent a powerful drive towards the bottom-right corner, but the African was alert to deny him.

In a recent chat with France Football, Mendy claimed that he doesn’t count clean sheets while talking up the importance of a strong team dynamic with regards to the art of defending.

"I know I made a lot of clean sheets but I'm not counting them," he said.

"That's because it's not something that I make on my own. The goalkeeper is as important as the guy in front of him. At the end of the day, I'm the one who has to make the stops, yes.

"But in front of me, there is a whole structure, ten players who move and complicate the task of the opponent. It's a team performance and not something I can own on my own."