Why Wendie Renard Deserves to Win 2020 Best FIFA Women's Player of the Year Award

Nov 26, 2020, 10:15 AM GMT
Wendie Renard
Renard would be a worthy winner of the FIFA Women's Player of the Year award | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

There's impressive football sides and then there's Lyon Feminin.

The giants of the women's game have won five successive Champions League titles, 14 straight Division 1 Feminine titles and embarked on a 80-game unbeaten league streak between December 2016 and November 2020.

As the women's game grows and teams continue to match the investment, infrastructure and ambition that Lyon have been pouring into their female side for over a decade, it is unlikely we will ever witness such supreme dominance by anyone ever again.

They are an unrelenting, unstoppable success train that has spent the last five years nonchalantly brushing aside any challengers in an incredible display of sporting prowess. And at the very heart of their success is towering centre half Wendie Renard.

Renard is one of 11 players nominated for the 2020 Best FIFA Women's Player of the Year Award, alongside teammates Delphine Cascarino, Saki Kumagai and Dzsenifer Marozsán, Manchester City's Lucy Bronze, Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema, Barcelona duo Jennifer Hermoso and Caroline Graham Hansen and Chelsea trio Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder and Ji So-Yun,

She is one of only two defenders in the running for the award, the only centre back nominated and should unquestionably be the recipient of the prestigious prize on 17 December.

Renard personifies Lyon; immovable. relentless, commanding. She has been at the club since the age of 16, and as they have blossomed into a dominant force of nature in world football, so has she.

The France international is a figure of consistency. Cool, composed and assured in possession, strong, fast and dogged out of it. Like Lyon, she rarely puts a foot wrong.

Wendie Renard
Renard playing for France at the Women's World Cup | Marcio Machado/Getty Images

Last year's winner Megan Rapinoe was crowned Best FIFA Women's Player because 2019 was her year. She had a very good World Cup and scored a lot of goals - although was not the USWNT standout performer - and matched this with her campaigning efforts and use of her platform to champion equality. In women's football, 2019 is a year that will always be associated with Megan Rapinoe.

Renard is not in the same boat. Every year is Renard's year. She does not miss a beat. 2020 was a year when she was once again outstanding across the board as Lyon's uncompromising dominance reached new heights.

Renard also loves the big occasion. Her towering height is an obvious asset from set pieces, giving her a goal scoring record that is quite frankly ridiculous for a defender; over 100 goals in a little over 350 appearances for her club.

When Lyon's intricate build up play and slick moves from wide are met with stubborn resistance, up will step Renard to casually head home from a set piece and make the hard-worked opposition wonder why they even bothered.

The Lyon captain was on hand to do just that in the semi finals of the 2020 Champions League, nodding home a free kick 23 minutes from time to secure a 1-0 win over PSG and book her place in her ninth Champions League final.

Four days later, it was an all too familiar sight; Renard hoisting the most prestigious trophy in club football aloft following her side's 3-1 win over Wolfsburg. The leader of the greatest club side in existence would be a worthy winner of the Best FIFA Women's Player of the Year Award.