The Senegal international becomes the first African goalkeeper to play in the competition’s final since 1985

Edouard Mendy has set a Uefa Super Cup record having made Chelsea’s starting XI for Wednesday’s game against Villarreal.

With that, he is the first African keeper to play in the final since Bruce Grobbelaar versus Juventus in 1985.

The Super Cup is an annual football match contested by the champions of the continent’s two main club competitions – the Champions League and the Europa League.

Former Zimbabwe international and Liverpool star Grobbelaar became the first African goalkeeper to achieve this feat 36 years ago when he stood in between the goalposts as the Reds bowed 2-0 to the Italian Serie A side at the Stadio Comunale [now Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino].

A goal in each half by Polish legend Zbigniew Boniek powered Giovanni Trapattoni’s men past Joe Fagan’s led side.

The 29-year-old will be recalled became the first African goalkeeper to play in the final of the Champions League having made the line-up against Manchester City.

Against the Yellow Submarine who are without injured Nigeria international Samuel Chukwueze, manager Thomas Tuchel would be counting on the Senegal international to halt the attacking forays of Unai Emery’s team.

In a recent interview, he opened up to Uefa that he once didn’t want to be a goalkeeper.

“I didn’t always want to be a goalkeeper, but I didn’t have much of a future further up the pitch,” Mendy told Uefa website.

“I was asked to go in goal, and everything happened naturally after that. I’ve experienced all the divisions in France, from the sixth-tier to Ligue 1.

“In between, there was a period where I was unemployed for a year, aged 22.

“Having never been professional, it’s difficult to then become a professional footballer, but I worked during that year, I worked twice as hard as the others.

“I had luck on my side and that thankfully paid off. I had the chance to sign for Olympique de Marseille. And I just went up from there.”

Mendy was signed 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 Londoners who finished fourth in the 2020-21 Premier League campaign as well as ruled Europe for the second time in their history.

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