2023 FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
France rocked by retirement of captain Wendie Renard before Women’s World Cup
Renard has said she won’t go to the World Cup because “the current system is far from what is required”.
The French national team have been rocked ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup by the shock international retirement of their captain Wendie Renard. Lyon defender Renard, who has won an incredible 34 trophies at club level, including eight Champions League titles, has been a mainstay of the France team since making her debut as a 20-year in 2011 and had been expected to lead the team at the upcoming tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
The centre-back, now 32, scored 34 goals in 142 games for France and has been a regular feature in best XIs for different competitions, while the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics) named her in the world team of the decade for the 2010s.
However, a message posted across her social media channels has revealed her unhappiness at the French setup under head coach Corinne Diacre, who has been widely criticised during her time in charge.
France captain Wendie Renard ‘stepping back’ for sake of mental health
“I defended the red, white and blue jersey with passion, respect, commitment, and professionalism 142 times. I love France more than anything, I am not perfect, far from it, but I can no longer endorse the current system, which is far from what is required at the highest level.
It is a sad day but it is necessary for the sake of my mental health. It is with a heavy heart that I inform you all, via this message, of my decision to step back from the French national team. Unfortunately, I will not participate in this World Cup under such conditions.
My face may hide the pain, but my heart suffers... and I no longer want to suffer.
Thank you for your support and respecting my decision.”
Former France international Diacre, who played for her country on 121 occasions and has been national team boss since 2017, has had a series of high-profile bust-ups with her players, who have been critical of various aspects of her management.
2019 FIFA World Cup “total chaos” in the France camp
Former captain Amandine Henry, who was frozen out by Diacre, said that during the 2019 FIFA World Cup, played in France, that “I saw girls crying in their room, I personally happened to cry in my room, because I wanted to experience this World Cup, but it was total chaos.”
France have been drawn alongside Brazil, Jamaica and Panama in Group F of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Les Bleues are seen as having an outside chance to lift the trophy for the first time but their case won’t be helped by the absence of one of their best players and leaders.