How does it feel to find the blue jersey and the French team in Clairefontaine, as a competition as important as the Euros approaches?
We still feel the same pride as playing for the France team and representing our country. Clairefontaine becomes our second home. We have a lot of fun meeting here.
You are coming back to the best level at the best time, after a long injury that kept you sidelined for a year and a half…
It was a complicated period (January 2020-September 2021), but I never lost sight of the goal of regaining my full abilities. A year and a half without playing, it’s not easy, but I managed to come back, to play a rather full season with the club. And it gave me confidence to be able to claim the France team.
“The last (victory in the Champions League), after what I experienced and everything we experienced collectively, necessarily has a particular flavor”.
The new trophies won with Lyon have rewarded these efforts…
We have won titles (French champions, Champions League), but this season has not been easy. We faced a lot of injuries, complicated moments. The strength and state of mind of the group prevailed. We felt a lot of solidarity and desire in this group, we knew how to question ourselves, and that helped us to stay the course and achieve our goals.
As far as you are concerned, you have won your 5th Champions League. Where do you place it, in terms of importance?
(She corrects) We can even say that it is the 6th, because even if I had not participated in the Final 8 (in 2020, due to his Achilles tendon injury, Ed), I had taken goes to games before (smiles). But the last one, after what I’ve been through and all that we’ve been through collectively, inevitably has a particular flavor.
At 27, in addition to your 66 selections for the France team, your club record is already very impressive (five Champions Leagues, five French championship titles, three French cups). Among boys, you would be a millionaire…
It’s not, but I’m not complaining about it (laughs). Having all these trophies is a real pride. We play football for that: to win titles and have fun. And until now I take a lot, that’s the main thing.
“We know that the boys are ahead of us. Level sponsors, marketing, they bring in much more money: what is reallocated to them afterwards is more important, and this proportionality is normal I think. We keep moving forward”
Certainly, but do you consider today to make a good living from football, and to be remunerated at your fair value?
I’m lucky to be at Olympique Lyonnais, quite simply the best club in Europe. We have a president who has done a lot for women’s football, and who has managed to put his daughters in an important place. I really have nothing to complain about.
How do you judge the evolution of women’s football since your beginnings?
We would like it to go faster, but there are stages. Winning titles is one of them. It’s up to us to make things happen.
In tennis, the Grand Slam tennis tournaments have established parity in prize money between men and women. Is this something that makes you dream or seems completely unrealistic?
Complicated question (laughs). We know that the boys are ahead of us. Level sponsors, marketing, they bring in much more money: what is reallocated to them afterwards is more important, and this proportionality is normal I think. We continue to move forward. I don’t know if one day we will reach the amounts that the boys get, but we tend to develop our discipline, and make sure that future generations, even if it’s not us, can benefit from it.
Back to the Euro. You will enter the competition on July 10, against Italy. With what ambitions?
When you are the France team and you start a competition, it is to go to the end. As far as we are concerned, we must add the desire to bring our country its first international trophy for women. We’ve been running after this for years, and we hope we’ll be able to fix it this summer.
Is this the level you need to cross to definitively enter the hearts of the French?
It would give us more weight, and it would make other people interested in us. It would necessarily be a determining trophy.
Besides Italy, Belgium and Iceland are in your group: what adversity do you expect?
It’s a Euro, we know that whatever team we are going to face, the adversity will be strong. It’s up to us to stay focused and determined, and have more desire than the opponent. We see that each team is progressing, there are a lot less wide scores as before. We are suspicious of everyone.
In blue, this will already be your fourth major competition, after the 2016 Olympics, Euro 2017 and the 2019 World Cup. What a long way you’ve come since your debut in Brest, at SC Ponta then ASB. Did you dream of it when you were a kid?
I often say it: when I was little, I didn’t know that the French women’s team existed. It was my dream, but I thought the best girls were going to play with the boys. I was completely out west (laughs).
“It’s a Euro, we know that whatever team we are going to face, the adversity will be strong. It’s up to us to stay focused and determined, and have more desire than the opponent.”
What do you keep from these years of training in Brest?
What wonderful memories. All the people I was able to meet, the educators, the players, the volunteers, it was great. I really liked playing with the boys (up to 14 years old), I liked to confront myself with them. And with the educators, I was a kind of darling (laughs) The first time I had to go for a detection with the girls, I cried about it, I told my mother that I didn’t want to go there go.
What relationship have you kept with Brest and your neighborhood, Pontanézen?
My mother still lives there, and my brother (Hianga’a) plays at Stade Brestois. I go back when I can. At the time of my injury, I used to go there often, but since I took over, it’s more complicated.
How do you view the career of your brothers?
We have always loved football, and we may have inherited my mother’s sporting streak. It was my big brother (Erwan) who introduced us to football, and it took off well. It definitely makes us proud. We follow each other: after each weekend, there is a debriefing on everyone’s matches. It’s good, it’s great.
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