BY AMIE CRIPPS, VERSUS
Wendie Renard is a family identify in France, however her popularity for being arguably the most effective 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 remainder. 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 call she’s by no means regretted. “It was arduous to play soccer and achieve success in Martinique as a result of lack of visibility. There have been only a few alternatives for me as a feminine footballer, so in that sense, it wasn’t arduous for me to depart in any respect. I needed to journey alone, and I knew it’d be troublesome 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 gorgeous sport.
As a baby, after watching French footballing star Marinette Pichon play on TV, she made a promise to her mom: “In the future, I’ll put on that shirt.” And she or he 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 woman from an island with a inhabitants lower than half one million. Renard’s want to be the most effective 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 Girls’s Championship All-Star Group, FIFA Girls’s World Cup All Star and Dream Group, IFFHS Girls’s World Group, and was the primary recipient of the UEFA Girls’s Champions League Defender of the Season award. Profitable is a key a part of Renard’s DNA, however her love of soccer transcends accolades. “When I’m on a pitch, I wish to win in fact! I’m a competitor! However one thing that evokes me greater than that’s the collective effort wanted in soccer. You need to work collectively so as to succeed. You need to work collectively as a group for the complete 90 minutes. You need to stay skilled till the final minute.” There is no such thing as a ‘i’ in ‘group’, and Renard is aware of it. However in terms of ensuring she has the sting, she’s at all times recognized precisely what to do. Even all the way down to her boots.
“I’ve at all times been an adidas woman! This model has lots of ‘class’. The logo has at all times been fairly iconic. My first pair of shoes 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, however it’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 getting ready for a sport. In case your boots can assist you management the ball, assist with energy and assist you for your entire match, they’ll carry so much 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 might have began a practice of elite ballers sporting Predators, however Renard is taking issues to the following stage alongside a few of the finest ladies’s gamers on this planet. And she or he’s greater than prepared for the problem. “I’ve at all times stated that I wish to make a reputation for myself in soccer, and being part of this marketing campaign undoubtedly means my identify might 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. A number of years in the past, a female-focused marketing campaign won’t have been doable, hopefully this marketing campaign offers impetus that it’s doable. Predator Edge reveals that soccer is one sport – there shouldn’t be variations between how feminine and male gamers are handled.”
Like most greats, Renard isn’t content material. She desires extra. She desires to maintain pushing the sport to new limits, and reaching new milestones. A method 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 might be individuals who let you know: ‘that is going to be actually arduous; you’re going to come across so many obstacles.’ However so long as you’ve got that internal dedication to succeed, you’ll go far. For me, goals are achievable from the second we create them. You simply need to go for it!”