Insights & stories

"I'll continue to give everything"

Lara Dickenmann; women's national team; women's football; national team; football; national team

Source: KEYSTONE - Walter Bieri

You've now been voted "Player of the Year" eight times. What makes this year's award special?
Every award is special. They show me that I've been able to help the team with my performances. But to be quite honest, I would rather have our World Cup qualification in the bag than this trophy. We have a tough play-off ahead of us.

With the exception of Ramona Bachmann, who won the award in 2011, a whole generation of good players has been left empty-handed. Isn't that sometimes almost a bit embarrassing for you? 
I really do feel a bit guilty. The other two nominees, Lia Wälti and Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, deserved this award just as much. Perhaps I pipped them to the post in the public vote thanks to my goals.

You're now 32 and seem to be getting better and better. What's the secret of your long career?
I've been very lucky to have been spared serious injury. And because I'm obsessed with football, I keep finding the energy to work on myself. I train a bit more every year and certainly live more healthily than ten years ago.

When your father was asked at the award ceremony what he wanted for you in the future, he replied: "good health." Does the fear of injury increase as you get older?
I'm not afraid. That would be dangerous. Players who are anxious as they go into tackles get injured more quickly. But I definitely take greater care of my body. I sleep more, and do more on the preventive side.

You set two more historic records last season. With 131 matches, you hold the record for the most appearances by a player in the women's national team, and you are the record female goalscorer with 52 goals . Which record means more to you? 
Both mean equally little to me. I've been around for so long that statistics like that simply happen. I think that the records will soon be broken. Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic is a hot favorite. She's a year younger than me, and already has 51 goals and 104 international matches to her name.

Which match will you never forget?
Definitely my very first international match against France 16 years ago, when I also managed to score. Then the two important matches against Iceland and Denmark, which helped us to qualify for the World Cup for the first time. And of course the World Cup match against the hosts Canada in front of 53,000 fans – although we suffered an unlucky defeat.

Which was your best goal?
There were two goals for Olympique Lyon in the Champions League. One was the decisive goal to go 2-0 up in the final in 2015. But even cooler was the goal that gave us the lead in the quarter-final against Zvezda Perm in 2011. I scored with a half-volley into the top right corner from 20 meters, an example of Swiss precision.

And which goal was the most important?
The most important one was not in the least spectacular. It was the penalty against Denmark to seal a 1-1 draw, which earned us an important point towards qualifying for the World Cup. I started my run-up – nervous as ever – and watched which way the goalkeeper would go. As she didn't move at all, it was straightforward.

What do you still aim for as a footballer? 
I want to win the Champions League with VfL Wolfsburg; last season we fell short in the final. And I would like to go to the 2019 World Cup in France with the national team. That would be a great way to finish.

How many more times will you win this award?
Perhaps none. But I'll continue to give everything.