If it hadn’t been for Eugenie’s unwavering persistence her interest in football probably wouldn’t have gone much further than a kick about in her own back garden.

“It was a bit complicated in the beginning,” says Eugénie, 30, as we meet at Lyon’s state of the art training complex. “Both of my parents played football when they were younger but when I told my mum that I wanted to play too she was reluctant to let me join a local club.

“I was only four years-old when I started playing so I had no idea what had happened previously and I was too young to understand her reasons,” adds Eugénie, who is preparing for her third World Cup campaign with France.

Despite eventually giving into her daughter’s pleas, Eugénie reveals her mother adopted various strategies to coax away from football – even if that meant also trying her hand at alternative sports.

“My mum even took me to a judo club in an attempt to make me forget about playing football but it didn’t work. Although it turned out that I liked judo, football was my passion,” says Les Bleues’ number nine, who eventually dropped lessons in martial arts in favour of football – although not before becoming judo champion in Bretagne.

“None of my other children wanted to play football as much as Eugénie did,” Claudine adds. “For her it was the only thing that mattered. Every day after school she used to drop her bag and go outside to practice dribbling, shooting and keepy uppies. Apparently I used to do that when I was little, too,” she smiles, seemingly amused by the uncanny similarities. “I was not allowed to show my skills in the playground, though. I went to a religious school and the only time I kicked the ball I got punished,” she adds.


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