CHELSEA keeper Edouard Mendy revealed he nearly quit football when he was on the dole.
The Blues stopper’s partner was pregnant with their child when the Senegal international considered hanging up the gloves.
Having started his career at French minnows Cherbourg in 2011, Mendy spent three season there before taking a year off when his contract expired to ‘contemplate his future’.
And it was during this down time – before eventually signing for Marseille in 2015 – the 28-year-old thought about jacking in football for good.
Chelsea landed the 6ft 6in star for £22million from Rennes this summer, but Mendy – cousin of Real Madrid star Ferland Mendy – says things could have been so much different.
Describing his period of unemployment, he said: “Back then when I got the message from my agent at the time I started to go back to the club I trained in when I was young.
“I was with the reserves there every morning. In afternoons I’d go to the gym or go with my brother to the pitch to practice my shot-stopping.
“I had unemployment support at that time so I could dedicate myself totally to football.
“But it was incredibly difficult and my partner was expecting our first baby.
“Unemployment support wasn’t going to be enough for us. We needed something else so I started looking for other work.
“Then I had the opportunity to go to Marseille and I was given a trial there.
“It was just a case of giving my everything to get the opportunity to join that club. Fortunately for me it worked and when it did it was a relief for me.
“One year without football is an incredibly long time and I had many doubts during that time.
“But it was thanks to my family who helped so much to keep me strong.
“I had my doubts over whether to carry on but I look now and say it is thanks to those that I am where I am today and my family are able to benefit from where I have got to with football.”
Mendy has played three times since his Stamford Bridge switch – keeping clean sheets on his Premier League and Champions League debuts for the Blues.
Chelsea outcast Kepa was given another shot after Mendy was injured on international duty earlier this month.
But after ANOTHER blunder in the 3-3 home draw with Southampton, Kepa was bombed out again.
And it emerged yesterday the Blues are prepared to let him leave in January with Sevilla keen on a loan deal.
Things have got so bad, the West Londoners have even included retired 38-year-old Petr Cech in their Premier League squad.