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Kalidou Koulibaly: Edouard Mendy is the best goalkeeper in the world

By Ben Green

Published: 11:26, 8 February 2022


Senegal skipper Kalidou Koulibaly has hailed Edouard Mendy ‘the best goalkeeper in the world’ following his nation’s Afcon 2021 triumph.

Aliou Cisse’s Lions of Teranga won the continental showpiece on Sunday night after beating seven-time winners Egypt in a penalty shootout.

It’s the second successive tournament in which Senegal have reached the final and the first time in the nation’s history that they’ve taken the trophy back home.

Mendy, for his part, was nigh-on impenetrable between the sticks throughout the tournament after he missed the opening two games, saving a penalty in the shootout with Egypt and collecting the ‘Africa Cup of Nations Best Goalkeeper’ award as a result.


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It’s one of the many individual accolades Mendy has picked up in the past 12 months, as he won the 2020/21 Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season after helping Chelsea win their second European Cup and more recently The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper for 2021.

It’s an incredible rise for a player who was once without a club at the age of 22, winning two of the sport’s most prestigious trophies both at club and international level just seven years later, and teammate Koulibaly believes he is now second to none among football’s finest shot-stoppers.

“It was a tough game and a tough tournament,” he told reporters. “We made it with our team and our power. Our goalkeeper is the best in the world and we win the title.

“We feel happy. We knew it would be hard to win the Africa Cup of Nations but today we made it.

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“Our team deserved to win this title. We had been looking for this for a long time and now we have it. This team is magnificent.”

Despite Mendy scooping the tournament’s ‘Best Goalkeeper’ award, the Chelsea gloveman believes Egypt’s Gabaski should have taken home the individual gong.

He told Egyptian TV station MBC: “Gabaski is the best goalkeeper of the tournament, honestly.

“I spoke to him and I told him he deserves it [to win goalkeeper of the tournament]. And I was really impressed by his tournament.”

Mendy was also captured in the aftermath of the final exchanging shirts and embracing Gabaski — a mark of respect between the tournament’s two outstanding shot-stoppers.

 

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