Sadio Mane says it’s “unacceptable” for compatriot Edouard Mendy not to have received a Ballon d’Or nomination.
The 30-man shortlist was revealed last week, with Chelsea’s Champions League winning stars Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount and Jorginho all included.
But Mendy – the first African goalkeeper to win the trophy – was not, with Euro 2020 winner Gianluigi Donnarumma the only goalkeeper nominated for the award.
Mendy kept a remarkable 35 clean sheets in 44 games for Chelsea last season and conceded just three goals in 12 Champions League outings on the Blues’ way to glory.
And the 29-year-old’s omission has mystified many, including international teammates Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Speaking after Senegal’s 4-1 World Cup qualification win over Namibia, Liverpool star Mane said: “It is unacceptable. I do not understand.”
And Napoli star Koulibaly – who was nominated for the gong in 2019 – said that players like him and Mendy need to work twice as hard as others to be recognised for such awards.
He said: “It’s a real shame that Edou isn’t one of them. 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.”
But Mendy was not dismayed by his absence from the shortlist, instead stating his pride at playing for Senegal and his nomination for the Yashin Trophy for the world’s best goalkeeper, an award also run by Ballon d’Or publication France Football.
He stated: “Honestly I am already very proud to represent my country and be among the 10 best goalkeepers in the world.
“In just one year [at Chelsea], it’s a very good thing. I’m not satisfied with that, I have a lot of ambitions but it’s already a good step. There will always be debates, whether it’s about me or someone else. It is down to the freedom of the votes of the [Ballon d’Or] journalists and they must be respected.”
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