Life in Blue by Steve Mandanda

Steve Mandanda was called up to the France team to make up for the absence of Mike Maignan, who was injured on Thursday against Austria and missed the trip to Denmark (Sunday, 8:45 p.m.) for the last round of the Nations League. The Rennes goalkeeper, whom he joined this summer, already has a long career with the Blues, which is recalled here in four acts.

2008-2009: his debut with the France national team

Arriving at OM as a substitute in 2007, Le Havre-trained Steve Mandanda was pushed into the Olympic cage at the start of the season due to an Achilles tendon injury to starter Cédric Carrasso. Since his first season, he is unanimous. He played 48 games including 6 in C1 and this year as number one he was awarded a call-up to the France national team, then led by Raymond Domenech (2004-2010).

At the age of 23, on May 27, 2008, he played his first international match replacing Sébastien Frey in a friendly match in Grenoble against Ecuador (2-0). Mandanda participates in Euro 2008 as number three behind Grégory Coupet and Sébastien Frey. Then the Vélodrome’s new darling takes the lead when the two goalkeepers in front of him announce his international retirement. He will start with the Blues in some qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup, until the arrival of Hugo Lloris.

2009-2021: an unconditional life as a substitute

The arrival of Lloris in goal returns Mandanda to a lining condition that will have known him almost all his career in the Blue. The ex-Marseillais has always been present when help was needed, whether under the orders of Laurent Blanc (2010-2012) or Didier Deschamps (since 2012), who made the Tottenham goalkeeper an unstoppable captain and the ex-Marseillais a number two essential. Mandanda found himself on the bench like this 110 times.

Still in the group (he will miss the 2014 World Cup due to a neck injury with OM), Mandanda monopolizes playing time and selections in friendlies and plays his first World Cup match in 2018, in the third match of the group stage against Denmark (0-0), which makes him the oldest Frenchman to start in this competition, at 33 years and 90 days.

2021: the disappearance of the group

The year 2021 marks a change, in club as in Azul. The one who then directed OM, Jorge Sampaoli, asked for another goalkeeper and got the Spaniard Pau López, whom he preferred to Mandanda for a good part of the season, against the tide of history -593 games with the colors of Marseille at that time for the goalkeeper, who will exceed 600 at the end of the season. With only 20 games in all competitions during the season, Mandanda is less prominent and Didier Deschamps decides to do without him.

Mike Maignan is gradually taking the lead as number 2 with a future as a starter. Alphonse Areola, is installed as third goalkeeper.

2022: back in the blues

At the beginning of July, the man nicknamed “El Fenomeno” by the Marseilles left OM, free, and signed for two seasons at Rennes, where he was promised a place in the eleven. This outing is marked by the Marseille fans, who paid tribute to him when the Bretons arrived at the Vélodrome a week ago in Ligue 1 (matchday 8, 1-1). With Maignan injured against Austria on Thursday, a place in the group became available and Deschamps recalled Mandanda for Sunday’s trip to Denmark in the Nations League.

The now Rennais had not been summoned for a year, during the qualifying phase for the World Cup. What to keep the hope of participation in the 2022 World Cup?

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