He was the last arrival of a crazy summer window at the Parc des Princes, joining on loan from Sporting bang on the transfer deadline. Ligue1.com tells you five things to know about Paris Saint-Germain’s new Portuguese left-back…
In Ronaldo’s footsteps
Mendes made his first start for Sporting in a 2-0 home win against Tondela on June 18 last year, a day before his 18th birthday. In doing so he became the youngest player to make his first start for the Lisbon outfit since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003. His full international debut followed in March of this year in a World Cup qualifying win over Azerbaijan. Aged 18 years, nine months and six days at the time, he became the youngest player to start for Portugal since…Ronaldo in 2003.
The teenage Mendes played 29 games on Sporting’s run to the Portuguese title last season, their first since 2002, the year of his birth. Mendes started as a left wing-back in a 3-4-1-2 system deployed by Leões coach Rúben Amorim and was the standout among a host of exciting young prospects to feature regularly. Others included midfielder João Palhinha, who went to Euro 2020 with Portugal, Pedro Gonçalves and Tiago Tomás.
Euro 2020 campaign marred by injury
Mendes was included in the Portugal squad for Euro 2020 by coach Fernando Santos but his hopes of featuring for the reigning European champions were spoiled by an injury. After being an unused substitute in their opening 3-0 win over Hungary in Budapest, he was unable to feature in their defeat by Germany that followed because of a muscle injury and didn’t make the squad for their 2-2 draw with France in their last group game either.
Mendes was back in the squad for their last-16 tie against Belgium but with former FC Lorient man Raphaël Guerreiro playing in the left-back role, Portugal lost 1-0 and their defence of the title was over without Mendes taking to the field.
Linked to Man City
Left-back has long been a problem position for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and the English champions had been regularly linked with a bid for Mendes during the summer. However City did not go so far as to make a concrete approach as they focused their energies on looking for a new striker - a search that also proved fruitless as attempts to buy Harry Kane failed.
Mendes remained at Sporting for the start of their title defence but didn’t play in their opening two games due to injury. He appeared off the bench in a 2-0 win at home to local rivals Belenenses before starting on his farewell appearance, in a 1-1 draw at Famalicão last weekend.
Seventy million-euro release clause
When Mendes extended his contract at the Estádio José Alvalade until 2025 at the end of last year, Sporting are understood to have inserted a €70 million release clause into the deal. Despite that PSG managed to get him on a season-long loan deal with reports in Portugal suggesting they agreed to pay €7 million for the privilege, and have an option to turn the deal into a permanent transfer for €40 million.
Mendes will now compete for a place at left-back with Layvin Kurzawa, Abdou Diallo and Juan Bernat, once the latter has fully recovered from his serious knee injury.
Photograph via www.psg.fr