REUTERS: Edouard Mendy is relishing the chance to showcase his talent at Chelsea but the Senegal keeper says he almost gave up football six years ago after his departure from Cherbourg left him without a club and drawing unemployment benefit.
Mendy's fortunes only changed when Marseille signed him in 2015 following a trial and the 28-year-old featured in their 'B' team before having spells at Reims and Rennes.
He secured a move to Chelsea last month on a five-year deal.
"I had to take unemployment support (in 2014) so I could dedicate myself totally to football," Mendy told reporters. "If someone had said to me six years ago that I'd end up here, I wouldn't have bothered looking at or listening to them.
"I did genuinely have my doubts about whether I'd carry on ... It was incredibly difficult. My partner was expecting our first baby and so the unemployment support wasn't going to be enough ... I did start looking for other work.
"I had the opportunity to go to Marseille and I was given a trial. Fortunately it worked ... it was a relief. A year to go without football is an incredibly long time."
The Senegal international said Chelsea's technical advisor Petr Cech played a big role in securing his move to London.
"I have been aware that Cech has been watching my matches for a number of years and it's always really pleasing to hear he has been saying he liked my profile and the way I was performing," Mendy said.
"Here at Chelsea everybody approved my signing and now it's up to me to show that they were right to take an interest in me and to have brought me to the club."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)