Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has sensationally claimed that the decision not to award Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy the Lev Yashin Trophy for 2021 was racially motivated.
Despite winning the Champions League and producing incredible displays for the Blues throughout the past 12 months, Mendy was overlooked at Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris.
Instead, the prize went to Gianluigi Donnarumma after he helped Italy to win two penalty shootouts on their way to winning this summer’s European Championships.
Mendy finished second behind Donnarumma, who now plays his club football for Paris Saint-Germain after leaving AC Milan this summer, with Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak in third.
But, speaking on Instagram, Evra appeared to suggest the reason why Mendy was snubbed was because of his race and not because Donnarumma was more worthy of the prize.
He also criticised attitudes towards the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins in Cameroon on January 9.
The 40-year-old said: ‘Also the goalkeeper… what about Edouard Mendy? You know, but of course, African Cup, we are the monkeys so no one respects this competition.
‘We are the only competition where you have to leave your club, leave for three weeks and play that cup because in Africa we always have a little space.
‘But things will change, things will change.’
Mendy was born in France but plays his international football for Senegal while Evra was born in Senegal but represented France. Mendy has won 16 caps for the African nation and is expected to play for them in the Africa Cup of Nations.
He has been imperious between the posts for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side this year, conceding just four goals as the Blues won the Champions League last season.
Evra was also furious that Lionel Messi was crowned Ballon d’Or winner for a seventh time with Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski overlooked.
The decision to award Messi the prize has divided football. He did claim a maiden Copa America title with his country during 2021 and was also top scorer in LaLiga for the 2020-21 season with 30 goals as Barcelona finished third.
The 34-year-old also helped Barca win the Copa del Rey before moving to PSG on a free transfer in the summer.
But most were expecting the prize to go to Lewandowski after he maintained the incredible goal-scoring form that made him favourite for last year’s prize before it was scrapped.
The Poland international, 33, finished second after scoring 38 goals in 30 league games for Bayern in 2021, in addition to winning the Bundesliga.
‘I feel so sorry for him (Lewandowski)’, Evra continued.
‘They even had to create a little trophy for him because, you know, they feel guilty and they know it’s corruption.
‘Open your eyes people. I am not one to say who deserves it or not but I think everyone agrees. Robbery, robbery robbery. People don’t agree.
‘Why are we lying to fans? I haven’t got anything against Lionel Messi. My problem is with those massive corrupt organisations of football and enough is enough.
‘They gave Lewandowski a trophy that looked like an old vinyl. It’s not funny. Messi didn’t have a bad season. If you see his stats he didn’t have a bad season.
‘But I’m sorry Lewandowski this year, even last year, was the best.’