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Ferland Mendy: from a wheelchair to European champion

Ferland Mendy was once questioned when he paid 50 million euros to join Real Madrid, but he is now demonstrating that the money was well spent. Above all, any athlete may be motivated by the narrative of this 27-year-old defender.

Perhaps you will think along those lines when you witness the sprints that have become his signature on Real Madrid’s left wing. One of Mendy’s previous professors reportedly referred to him as “like a bullet.” Mendy possesses both speed and the ability to attack an opponent’s defense while accelerating. 

But behind Mendy’s galloping strides, the momentum keeps him going beyond the confines of the football field.

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Dive into Mendy’s stories, talking to those who know him best, and you’ll find that there’s more to it than you can imagine – perhaps even existentialism. Mendy, as he himself admits, is really racing against time. 

It all started with a hip surgery: hospital, cast, and all that involved. Although the surgery went smoothly, the post-operative recovery was slow and laborious. Mendy was only 14 years old at the time, but was wise enough to know that the following days would be spent in rest and physical therapy.

However, things did not go as planned. Mendy’s recovery got worse. He was in a wheelchair and in a cast for 3 months.

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“The doctor said I would never play football again,” Mendy later told UEFA’s website. “Someone even mentioned the amputation of one of my legs.”

Those worries turned out to be unjustified. But getting there is still a long way off. Mendy’s muscles had gotten so weak by the time he got out of his wheelchair that it was difficult for him to walk normally. Both his vitality and his equilibrium left him.

When his father passed away three years ago, Mendy was accustomed to overcoming hardship, but it was still a difficult test of life.

Mendy’s development at PSG, the team he joined at the age of nine, was delayed by the operation. When Mendy recovered from his injuries, he was no longer able to compete with his colleagues.

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But with energy and determination in a later period of time, especially his time at Lyon, he became more complete. It is not by chance that a player can be in the typical Ligue 1 team of the season for two years in a row just because of the adventure in the gameplay.

Mendy is a reliable option for the current Madrid on the left wing. Last season, Mendy made a significant contribution to Real Madrid’s Champions League victory.

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Mendy was also favoured by Zinedine Zidane. The club received a signing proposal from Mendy’s former Real Madrid manager in the summer of 2019. Mendy was persuaded to reject offers from Juventus and a number of other Premier League teams by Zizou’s call. 

As Mendy once told France Football: “My journey may not have been smooth, but the drive to succeed makes me who I am. I’ve always been like that. And now I have to find a way to make up for the lost time.” 

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