Edouard Mendy has claimed he needs to start winning trophies to show he is in the same class as Thibaut Courtois, Keylar Navas and Ederson.
The three other goalkeepers in the Champions League semi-finals this week have all won league titles and have big European experience.
But Mendy, 29, was unemployed and training with the Le Havre reserves only six years ago before his incredible journey to the top of European football.
The Senegal keeper signed for the Blues for £22m in September and has won the starters role from Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero.
And Mendy tonight faces the biggest match of his life in the Champions League semi-final first leg in Madrid with former Chelsea keeper Courtois in goal for the Spanish champions.
The other last-four clash between Paris-Saint Germain and Manchester City sees Navas and Ederson between the sticks.
And Mendy said: “When you are in a big team, the goalkeeper has to perform, to improve, to progress, but the proof is done by winning titles. Those keepers already have a great record of achievements. Myself, I have arrived, I am performing with Chelsea but you have to translate that into victories.”
After a year without a job in football, Mendy joined Marseilles as fourth-choice keeper in 2015 and his journey took him to Reims, Rennes and now the Champions League semi-finals.
“I am not going to say I saw everything but in footballing terms, yes, I think have experienced everything,” he told L'Equipe. “The times without a club, the reserves, all the French leagues, the Europa League. I have been through some very low moments, and it is true that today I have the perspective to really appreciate where I am.”
Following his Carabao Cup debut against Tottenham, Mendy kept six consecutive clean sheets in his next games in English football.
“In big clubs, you are expected to perform immediately, send good signals, show why they believed in you and perform or even super-perform,
“I felt at ease very quickly and off I went. And then the more you win, the better it is for my integration and that also enabled me to adapt quicker.”
Mendy praised the help of goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon, former Chelsea No.1 Petr Cech, ex-manager Frank Lampard and the French-speaking contingent in the Stamford Bridge dressing room. But he is also close to young English stars like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount Ben Chilwell and Reece James – and American Christian Pulisic.
“Yes my little 'English boys',” he smiled. “With them, I am super close, they put me at ease. Even if my English was not perfect at the start, they understood what I wanted to say, they didn't make fun of men, they were friendly immediately, and then the competitive side brings us all together.”
Mendy already connections with England – and a long-held desire to play here.
“I went on a school trip to Brighton,” he revealed. “It was from then that I really said to myself: 'Wow, English football is great. We had the chance to go to a match, the fervour really gave me the desire to come.
"I have always had this image in my head and I said to myself that if when I grew up, I had the chance to go there, it would be great.
“I have already taken English lessons in the past because my sister has lived in England for several years and her husband is English. It is a language which attract me, I wanted to have this string to my bow, and now, it is much better.”
Zinedine Zidane has won three Champions League titles as Real Madrid coach and his side are back up to third in La Liga after a 17-match unbeaten run. But Chelsea are now fourth after suffering only two defeats in 21 games under Thomas Tuchel.
“It is Real Madrid and in their favour, they have a real shared history, they have won lots of titles together,” Mendy added. “They have experience on their side. But us, we have built this trust, we have really had results with the philosophy of the coach, so we are going to rely on this to take this final step. We will go there with a lot of energy and desire.”
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