Despite having an excellent year, Gianluigi Donnarumma taking the goalkeeping spot in the World XI is a bit contentious, especially considering Edouard Mendy was named FIFA’s Goalkeeper of the Year. Much like countryman Leonardo Bonucci, Donnarumma’s inclusion is more than likely down to his impressive Euro’s campaign, with the Italian taking home a winner's medal whilst being named Player of the Tournament. In terms of club football, while Donnarumma enjoyed a fine year with AC Milan, Mendy arguably had a better season with Chelsea, as the Blues lifted the Champions League and secured a top four finish.
Signed under Frank Lampard, Mendy was an unknown quantity coming into 2021/22, however, he quickly showed why he had been chosen as fellow goalkeeper Kepa’s replacement, regularly making saves that seemed destined to find the net. Mendy has continued his fine through all of 2021 as an integral part of a formidable Chelsea backline having kept 29 clean sheets throughout the year.
Following the cancellation of AFCON, originally scheduled for the summer of 2021, Mendy was robbed of the chance to represent Senegal at Africa’s Euros equivalent. With Senegal amongst the favourites for the tournament, this may have given Mendy the chance for the international glory that has likely seen Donnarumma edge him for a spot in this XI with the Senegalese shot-stopper our choice, and FIFA’s, for the best keeper of 2021.