France captain Renard set to miss Women's World Cup 'to preserve mental health'

By Sports Desk February 24, 2023

France captain Wendie Renard will sit out the 2023 Women's World Cup unless there is a regime change, she revealed in a bombshell announcement on Friday.

In a statement posted on social media, Renard said she loved France "more than anything" but blamed "the current system" for her decision and said she wanted to protect her mental health.

The 32-year-old has 142 international caps and is one of the best-known women's footballers in the world game.

Renard was stripped of the captaincy by head coach Corinne Diacre in 2017, before regaining it four years later, with French outlet RMC Sport reporting her decision on Friday relates to concerns about Diacre, who remains in charge of the team.

Renard wrote: "I defended the blue, white and red jersey 142 times with passion, respect, commitment and professionalism. I love France more than anything, I'm not perfect, far from it, but I can no longer endorse the current system, far from the requirements required by the highest level.

"It's a sad but necessary day to preserve my mental health. It is with a heavy heart that I come by this message to inform you of my decision to take a step back from the French team.

"Unfortunately, I will not play this World Cup in such conditions. My face can hide the pain, but my heart hurts... and I don't want to hurt any more."

Renard has won 15 Division 1 Feminine titles with her club Lyon, as well as nine Coupe de France trophies and eight Women's Champions League titles.

The Women's World Cup takes place between July 20 and August 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

England and Barcelona star Lucy Bronze sent a message of support to Renard, her former Lyon team-mate, posting on Instagram: "With you my sister always."

French tennis legend Yannick Noah added his support, writing: "Courage to you Wendie."

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