Wednesday 12 April 2023, 17:00

Wendie Renard visits FIFA Headquarters

  • Les Bleues central defender met FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura

  • They discussed the development of women’s football

  • Renard will take part in her third Women’s World Cup later this year

The French international Wendie Renard paid an official visit to FIFA Headquarters in Zurich on 12 April, the day after she captained France to an impressive 2-1 friendly win over Canada, and met with Fatma Samoura, the Secretary General of world football’s governing body. “I was delighted to welcome Wendie today and all my colleagues here at FIFA were thrilled to meet such an iconic player, less than 100 days from the start of the ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup™,” said Samoura.

“I’m grateful for our productive discussions and I wish her good luck in her tournament preparation with the French team,” she added. “We spoke at length about the challenges that young girls outside Europe face in pursuing their passion for football, and I hope that there are many more occasions in the future when we can work together for the advancement of women’s football.”

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ will be the third appearance at a World Cup for Renard, who will turn 33 the day the tournament kicks off on 20 July. “I hope it will be a good tournament, and that all the teams are at their best and perform well,” she told “I hope we can go as far as possible, and that there will be fun, joy, and lots of goals…”

Renard will be hoping that Les Bleues can do better than in 2019, when USA spoiled the home side’s party at the quarter-final stage. Despite the disappointment, the Martinique-born player still considers that tournament a unique experience. “That was one of the great moments in my career, even if as a team, it didn’t go so well, and we didn’t reach our objective. On an emotional level, there’s nothing better than playing in front of your family, in a full stadium, with the national anthem playing and tears flowing. That’s a beautiful feeling, it makes you want to play ten times better.”

Role model

Having built her dreams of playing at the highest level by following the examples of male players, such as Ronaldinho or Zinedine Zidane, Renard knows that the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ sowed seeds of hope in the hearts of young girls, who can now have idols who look like them. “We have a duty to be ambassadors for the game, day in, day out, and it’s wonderful to arrive at a stadium and see young girls wearing jerseys with our names on,” she explains. “It’s a sign of progress. My advice to them would be to believe in themselves, and in their dreams. I often say to young kids: ‘If you don’t believe in yourself, who else is going to do it for you?’ Everything is possible once you commit to working hard, once you have the right support and the right people around you. And those around you get more important the further you go as a top-level athlete,” she added.

Major tournaments are also the time for promoting positive messages, as with FIFA’s “Football Unites the World” campaign, which strikes a chord with Renard. “Huge victories, like our men’s team in 1998, or the English women at UEFA EURO 2022, show us that only football can unite so many people and generate such a shared sense of spontaneous emotion. We need to learn how to use that force for good, because we know people are listening and watching us. A parent or a teacher can say something lots of times, but if a player says it, a young person might understand it right away.”

Come July, Les Bleues will be focused on a single objective – finally winning a major trophy for the first time in their history, despite regularly being considered among the favourites for tournaments in the last decade or so. For Renard, and for all her Olympique Lyonnais team-mates who have won it all at club level in recent years, a title at national level would bring an end to this gap in their trophy cabinet.

“I always say that club level and the national team are not the same,” explains Renard. “Look at players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo…how many years did they have to wait before they won with their country? The big difference with national teams is the time available. You have to work much faster to build an understanding, to create a group that can speak the same language and play the same game on the field, and to anticipate what your team-mates will do. Watching Messi lift that trophy that he’d been chasing for so many years, that inspires us all to persevere. I’ve always worked to go as far as I can with this jersey, and I’ll be doing that again this summer. I don’t have many years left as a player, and with a fantastic generation coming of age now, it’s time for me to win something with Les Bleues,” she concluded.