Real Madrid 2020-21 Quarter Season Report Card: Ferland Mendy

Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid left back Ferland Mendy has picked up where he left off in 2019-2020.

For as much as Real Madrid fans have been frustrated with Marcelo for his dreadful performances in 2020-2021, they have also been impressed with Ferland Mendy.

The regular starting left back for Los Blancos, Mendy has been a star since signing from Lyon in 2019. Money well-spent, Mendy cost Real 50 million euros and has now established himself as the best defensive fullback in European football, bar none.

Mendy’s profile is rising, as the French national team is beginning to value him highly after noticing his stalwart performances for Real week after week.

According to, Mendy is second on the team among regular starters in interceptions per game with 1.8. He is famous for being nearly impossible to dribble past, and Mendy has maintained that impressive shutdown defending in 2020-2021. Opposing players have only managed to dribble past Mendy 0.4 times per match, which was about his level last season. And that’s a very impressive number for a fullback.

Mendy isn’t just great at preventing wingers from getting past him. No, he’s also great at getting past other defenders. The 25-year-old is averaging a jaw-dropping 3.0 dribbles per game, meaning he is first on the team among regular starters in this stat. No fullback in a back four has more successful dribbles per game than Mendy’s 2.8 among Europe’s top five leagues, and he only has 0.8 unsuccessful dribbles.

Real Madrid left back Ferland Mendy is good at so many things

That means Mendy isn’t just a shutdown defender or an exciting ball-carrier for the attack down the left-hand side. It means he’s a consistent, steady part of the team who fits Zinedine Zidane’s current strategy perfectly. And that strategy is to win with a steady defense and an attack that controls the ball and keeps possession. Juxtapose that with  Marcelo, whose defending has cost Real goals and games and who lost the ball 23 times at Valencia.

This season, Mendy has completed 91.4 percent of his passes. He’s in a tier just below Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos in terms of passing accuracy. That’s not to say he’s near their level as a passer, because Kroos and Ramos attempt riskier passes, especially Kroos. But Mendy knows his limitations as a passer and keeps the ball recycling. He doesn’t break the chain of attack by making a mistake, nor does he commit sloppy giveaways in his own area. In fact, his composure and awareness in his defensive third as a passer has been very impressive.

Pretty much everything about Mendy’s game has impressed Madridistas. What they’ve needed, as they prepare for life without Marcelo as a world-class left back, is someone who can bring defensive stability while still stretching the field and supporting the attack. Mendy is the perfect left back for Real, and his game is only improving. As we saw against Granada, he has the potential to add “great goals” to his repertoire.

Next. Real Madrid Report Card: Thibaut Courtois. dark

The best is yet to come for Mendy in 2020-2021, but, so far, he has played very well for Los Blancos. He ranks as one of the team’s better players, and his rating for the first eight La Liga matches of the season should reflect his steadiness. Mendy has been the best defender on Real, speaking strictly in terms of his defensive contributions.

Rating: B+, 8.0/10