Real Madrid – La Liga Perfected it at PSG
Ferland Mendy‘s path to becoming a Real Madrid player was anything but straightforward.
The left-back suffered a serious hip injury at 14 that almost ended his career, and his father’s early passing understandably hit him hard. As well, the Frenchman was let go by Paris Saint-Germain, having been part of their youth setup.
And so Mendy had to start from scratch in 2013. He had to start again in the fourth tier of French football, where he played until Le Havre noticed him.
He spent one year there in the second tier before Lyon came in for him, which allowed him to make the step up to Ligue 1. From there, his career took off. Real Madrid came next, as did a France call-up from Didier Deschamps.
On Wednesday, Mendy scored the only goal as Real Madrid edged 10-man Atalanta in Bergamo, and it took his fine strike to break through the Italians’ defensive efforts.
The goal was his first in the Champions League and it came as the result of his hard work in France, where he was part of a brilliant generation alongside Kingsley Coman, Presnel Kimpembe and current Atletico Madrid striker Moussa Dembele.
It was Mendy‘s youth coaches who made him work on his right foot a lot. And it has improved. But the big leap came when he suffered a sprain to his left ankle, yet he continued to train anyway.
“People tell me I’m good with my right [foot],” Mendy later told L’Equipe. “It’s true. They always made us work with our right in the PSG academy.
“Then I kept doing it. With the under-19s I had a sprain and I stopped kicking the ball with my left because it hurt.”
Even Zinedine Zidane admitted that Mendy can hit the ball harder with his ‘weaker’ right foot, and he has filled in at right-back under the coach already.
Against Getafe, Mendy also scored with his right foot after getting on the end of Marcelo’s assist.