The World Cup’s luckiest omen? Glamorous partner of Saudi Arabia’s coach – who is toasting victory over Argentina in one of football’s biggest-ever shocks – was married to Senegal’s manager when they stunned France 20 years ago
The coach who guided Saudi Arabia to the win over Argentina that stunned the world today is a colourful character whose glamorous partner was previously married to another international manager who oversaw a famous World Cup shock of his own.
Saudi manager Herve Renard, 54, is in a relationship with Viviane Dièye, the widow of Senegal national coach Bruno Metsu who died from cancer in 2013.
Just as Renard caused a global sensation himself today, so his partner’s former husband did 20 years ago when he guided Senegal to a first round victory over then World Champions France.
Renard and Dièye, who both had three children, fell in love after Metsu’s death when Herve was manager of Morocco and became an item.
The couple are rumoured to be planning to wed soon themselves.
Renard has three children – Candice, Kevin and Audrey. Candice has become quite high profile in France, appearing in a number of reality TV shows.
Saudi manager Herve Renard (right), 54, is in a relationship with Viviane Dièye (left)
She is the widow of Senegal national coach Bruno Metsu (left) who died from cancer in 2013
The 25-year-old was subject to a vicious assault during her father’s tenure as Morocco manager when she was attacked after a match in the Ivory Coast.
Renard was left close to tears after the incident which happened when Candice was waiting to meet him outside the team dressing room when she was caught in a melee involving angry local fans – and was hit by security guards with batons. She later had to be stretchered away.
He said afterwards: ‘I don’t know how people can behave like that towards my daughter.’
Viviane, who comes from Senegal, met her first husband in Italy and he converted to Islam as their relationship developed.
Ms Dièye has gone into business in Morocco where she lived when Renard was managing the national team. She owns and runs a sports store in a Casablanca shopping centre
With her first husband she had three children, Enzo, Noah, and Maeva – and she is also stepmother to a fourth, Remy, from a previous relationship of Metu’s.
Renard has three children – Candice, Kevin and Audrey. The 25-year-old was subject to a vicious assault during her father’s tenure as Morocco manager when she was attacked after a match in the Ivory Coast
After Metsu’s death she gave an interview to a Gulf publication in which she spoke of ‘how she could proudly say that she spent a wonderful decade by his side’
Renard, who was born in France, is known for wearing his lucky white shirt.
By his own admission he was an average player whose career in the lower of the French leagues ended in 1998 when he suffered a career ending knee injury.
He began coaching with low league side SC Drguignan, turning up for coaching sessions in the evening having got up at 2.30am to work as an office cleaner.
He would eventually start his own industrial cleaning company, but never lost his love for football and after spells as a coach in China and Vietnam was appointed manager of Cambridge United in the UK in 2004.
The job lasted months before he was sacked when Cambridge were relegated from the football league. He won four of his 26 games in charge.
His fortunes reversed by 2010 after stints working for different national teams across Asia and Africa.
Candice has become quite high profile in France, appearing in a number of reality TV shows
He led Zambia and the Ivory Coast to victory in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 and 2015.
Three years ago, he signed a deal to coach the Saudi national team having been sacked as the Moroccan team’s coach – despite taking them to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
In contrast to Renard’s colourful life story, the heroic Saudi Arabian football team have very low profiles – and are as far removed from the glitz and glamorous lifestyle enjoyed by many of the other World Cup stars as possible.
While enjoying bumper salaries playing in the Saudi professional league, they do not flaunt their wealth with Instagram photos of their expensive cars or visits to five star resorts.
And there is not a WAG in sight on any of their social media sites.
Only two of the ‘Green Falcons’ that were part of the sensational victory over tournament favourites Argentina actually have active social media profiles.
The Instagram accounts of Saleh Al-Sheri – who scored the equaliser against the much fancied Lionel Messi’s team – and Nawaf Al Abed simply show the players involved in matches or on the training ground.
Only two of the ‘Green Falcons’ that were part of the sensational victory over tournament favourites Argentina actually have active social media profiles
The Instagram accounts of Saleh Al-Sheri – who scored the equaliser against the much fancied Lionel Messi’s team – and Nawaf Al Abed simply show the players involved in matches or on the training ground
There are no selfies at beach side resorts, and being Muslim, not a drop of alcohol is in sight in any of the photos posted to their followers.
Al Sheri’s most recent posting showed him walking down the steps of the jet that flew the team to Qatar.
The 29-year-old player is one of the few among the Saudi team to have played abroad during his career.
He had a short stint with Portuguese side Beira-Mar but has spent the bulk of his career playing domestic football in the Arab kingdom.
The team’s match winner left winger Salem Al-Dawsari has almost played in Europe four years ago.
Under a collaborative agreement between the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and Spain’s La Liga league he joined Villarreal on loan.
Al-Dawsari made a single appearance as a substitute on the final day of the 2017/18 season against Real Madrid.
The 31-year-old is a one club man having played 309 times for Al-Hilal, Saudi Arabia’s top domestic team.
Most of the other Saudi players have graduated from the junior ranks to make the national team and have yet to attract the attention of European clubs.
Given the heroics to keep out Argentina that might all change as Europe’s top clubs look to strengthen their teams.