BY AMIE CRIPPS, VERSUS
Wendie Renard is a family identify in France, however her repute for being arguably the perfect defender of her era is aware of no bounds.
Standing at 6ft2in tall, she is sort of actually – and figuratively – head and shoulders above the remaining. Her trophy cupboard proves it: 14 Division 1 Féminine titles. 9 Coup de France and 7 Champions League titles. To not point out the 2 Cyprus Cups in addition to the SheBelieves Cup she’s gained for Les Bleus. Renard was born to win, there’s no two methods about it. However greater than that, she was born to guide.
As soon as described as an ‘establishment’, the Olympique Lyonnais captain has revamped 400 appearances for L’OL since signing in 2006. She joined the French giants on the tender age of sixteen, having travelled alone from Martinique to make her mark. A choice she’s by no means regretted. “It was laborious to play soccer and achieve success in Martinique because of the lack of visibility. There have been only a few alternatives for me as a feminine footballer, so in that sense, it wasn’t laborious for me to go away in any respect. I needed to journey alone, and I knew it’d be tough leaving my mom and there’d be some monetary difficulties. However I knew Martiniquais gamers had carried out it earlier than – like Joan Hartock – so I by no means felt misplaced.” Even from a younger age, Renard has at all times been decided to achieve the dizzying heights of the attractive recreation.
As a baby, after watching French footballing star Marinette Pichon play on TV, she made a promise to her mom: “Sooner or later, I’ll put on that shirt.” And he or she stored her phrase. She’s since gone on to put on it over 100 instances, and even donned France’s captain armband between 2013 – 2017. Since making her senior debut over a decade in the past, Renard has represented her nation at two World Cups and Olympic Video games. Not dangerous for a lady from an island with a inhabitants lower than half 1,000,000. Renard’s want to be the perfect has at all times translated to her performances on the pitch, and the world has been fast to recognise it.
Lately, the 32-year-old has been named a part of the UEFA Ladies’s Championship All-Star Workforce, FIFA Ladies’s World Cup All Star and Dream Workforce, IFFHS Ladies’s World Workforce, and was the primary recipient of the UEFA Ladies’s Champions League Defender of the Season award. Successful is a key a part of Renard’s DNA, however her love of soccer transcends accolades. “When I’m on a pitch, I need to win in fact! I’m a competitor! However one thing that conjures up me greater than that’s the collective effort wanted in soccer. You must work collectively with the intention to succeed. You must work collectively as a crew for the total 90 minutes. You must stay skilled till the final minute.” There is no such thing as a ‘i’ in ‘crew’, and Renard is aware of it. However in terms of ensuring she has the sting, she’s at all times identified precisely what to do. Even all the way down to her boots.
“I’ve at all times been an adidas lady! This model has loads of ‘class’. The logo has at all times been fairly iconic. My first pair of trainers have been in fact adidas, they have been the F50s. Again within the days of velcro! adidas does distinctive issues with boots in terms of ball mastery, as a result of their boots are so delicate to gamers’ actions. I’ve seen boots evolve through the years, but it surely’s at all times been actually vital to be sure to really feel comfy. It’s one much less factor to fret about in terms of making ready for a recreation. In case your boots may help you management the ball, assist with energy and help you for the complete match, they will carry rather a lot to your efficiency.”
Some issues simply make sense, and Renard being inducted to the unofficial Predator corridor of fame as a part of the Predator Edge marketing campaign is certainly one of them. Legends like David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane could have began a convention of elite ballers carrying Predators, however Renard is taking issues to the following stage alongside among the greatest ladies’s gamers on this planet. And he or she’s greater than prepared for the problem. “I’ve at all times mentioned that I need to make a reputation for myself in soccer, and being part of this marketing campaign positively means my identify will likely be written within the historical past books. It’s a proud second for me, because it looks like a second of recognition. It additionally looks like soccer is transferring ahead. Just a few years in the past, a female-focused marketing campaign may not have been doable, hopefully this marketing campaign gives impetus that it’s doable. Predator Edge exhibits that soccer is one sport – there shouldn’t be variations between how feminine and male gamers are handled.”
Like most greats, Renard is rarely content material. She needs extra. She needs to maintain pushing the sport to new limits, and attaining new milestones. A technique she understands she will do that’s by empowering the following era of Predator Edge superstars. “My recommendation to any younger participant is at all times to imagine in your self. There will likely be individuals who let you know: ‘that is going to be actually laborious; you’re going to come across so many obstacles.’ However so long as you’ve got that interior dedication to succeed, you’ll go far. For me, desires are achievable from the second we create them. You simply must go for it!”
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