Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly have spoken of their shock and disappointment that Senegal teammate Edouard Mendy did not receive a Ballon d’Or nomination this year.
Mendy’s arrival at Chelsea helped turn them into one of the best defensive teams in Europe, ultimately culminating in their Champions League triumph in May.
The goalkeeper’s clubmates Cesar Azpilicueta, Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are all on the final 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or.
Mendy’s performances were enough to earn him a place on the 10-man shortlist for the Yashin Trophy, but Gianluigi Donnarumma is the only goalkeeper to receive a nomination for the main prize.
When asked about Mendy being overlooked, Mane could not hide his confusion and slammed the decision as ‘unacceptable’.
“It is unacceptable. I do not understand,” he said, as quoted by the Evening Standard.
Napoli defender Koulibaly was similarly critical of the decision, and said that players such as himself and Mendy have to work harder in order for their accomplishments to be recognised.
“It’s a real shame that Edou isn’t one of them. He is the first African goalkeeper to win the Champions League,” Koulibaly said.
“We must continue to work and move forward. We have to do 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 spoke of his delight to only receive a nomination for the Yashin Trophy, and that he respects the decisions made by voters to overlook him for the Ballon d’Or.
“Honestly I am already very proud to represent my country and be among the 10 best goalkeepers in the world,” Mendy himself said. “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.”