African All Stars

The Hot Seat: Did Mendy eclipse Drogba?

10:00 SAST 2021/06/12
Drogba Hotseat
The parallels between the two Chelsea Champions League winners were examined in this week's episode of The Hot Seat

A fortnight has passed since Edouard Mendy and Chelsea defeated Manchester City to win the 2021 Champions League, clinching the European crown for the second time in the club’s history.

It’s a triumph that will live long in the memory, as Mendy followed in the footsteps of one of Africa’s greatest players—Didier Drogba—to play an influential role in winning the big one.

A comparison between these two players—and their roles in Chelsea’s European glories—was the subject of this week’s episode of The Hot Seat, as Goal Nigeria’s Oluwaseye Omidiora was grilled on one of his latest features.

Omidiora drew a parallel between the duo’s rise in the sport, their late starts in football, their time at Olympique de Marseille and how they appeared to make up for lost time after arriving at Chelsea.

Certainly, Drogba’s impact in the 2012 final cannot be underestimated.

It was the Ivorian striker who equalised against Bayern Munich late on, before then striking the winning penalty as the Blues enacted a smash-and-grab UCL masterclass in Bavaria.

The success was Chelsea’s first in the Champions League—and the first by any London club in the competition—and established the attacker as one of the club’s greatest ever players.

It represented the pinnacle of Drogba’s time at Stamford Bridge, and indeed, the highlight of his long and storied career.

Mendy wasn’t as influential in the final victory over City two weeks ago, although he did keep another clean sheet in another fine Chelsea defensive display.

His shut-out means that he equalled the record for clean sheets by a goalkeeper in a single season in the UCL, and broke the record for the most clean sheets by a stopper playing in his first European Cup campaign.

It’s the latest in a long line of outstanding feats by Mendy this season, as he settled quickly at Chelsea and swiftly established himself among the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League.

The Senegal stopper also proved himself in key moments in the Champions League, notably in the semi-final victory over Real Madrid, when he made a pair of magnificent stops to deny Karim Benzema and ensure Thomas Tuchel’s side retained the initiative.