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'I was in a wheelchair, now I'm at Real Madrid'

Thursday June 20 2019

French defender Ferland Mendy plays with a ball during his official presentation as a Real Madrid player at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on June 19, 2019. PHOTO | OSCAR DEL POZO |

French defender Ferland Mendy plays with a ball during his official presentation as a Real Madrid player at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on June 19, 2019. PHOTO | OSCAR DEL POZO |  AFP

BBC SPORT
By BBC SPORT
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New Real Madrid signing Ferland Mendy says he was told he might never play football again after hip surgery as a 15-year-old left him in a wheelchair.

The France defender, 24, joined Real on a six-year contract from Lyon last week in a deal worth up to £47.1m (Sh6.1 billion).

"I was in a wheelchair for a while and I spent between six and seven months in hospital doing rehabilitation so I could walk again," Mendy said.

"They told me I wasn't going to play again. Now I'm at Real Madrid."

Only two years ago, Mendy was still playing for French second-tier side Le Havre before joining Lyon in June 2017. He made his international debut against Uruguay in November.

"At the beginning I just couldn't believe it," Mendy said of his move to the La Liga giants.

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"This is a great club and being able to sign a contract with them to me is something absolutely incredible, fantastic. I'm absolutely overjoyed and hopefully everything will go well here."

Mendy's arrival has taken Real Madrid's summer spending to close to £300m (Sh38.8 billion).

The club have already signed Belgium forward Eden Hazard from Chelsea for a fee that could exceed £150m, and Serbia striker Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt for a reported £53m.

In March, they signed Porto defender Eder Militao for £42.7m (Sh5.5 billion).

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