Rugby-loving Reynet delights Dijon
His club picked up their first win on Saturday night and goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet has picked up where he left off last season: impressing between the sticks for Dijon on a weekly basis.
Now considered one of France’s best custodians, might Reynet have been professional in another sport had things turned out differently?
Dijon coach Olivier Dall'Oglio told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN SPORTS: "We know he likes rugby, the team spirit, the big hits. I think in those terms rugby really is a big part of him."
Laurent Weber, Dijon's goalkeeping coach, added: "He's prone to picking the ball up, sprinting and diving with it. Honestly. If there is a puddle around and he's missing rugby, he likes to dive into those."
Reynet was a keen and talented rugby player as a boy, but ultimately opted for a career in football. He said: "My grandfathers, my uncles and my dad all played rugby and my aunt used to bring me along to watch. I travelled far and wide with her to watch my dad play rugby, it's true that it’s a sport that I love.
"I considered stopping football to play rugby"
"I used to have a checked shirt, it was the shirt that my dad used to play in with his club. It's true that I started rugby as a youngster but all my friends played football so I sort of just followed. At 15 or 16 I seriously considered stopping football to play rugby!"
Rugby and football are very different sports, yet Dijon's goalkeeper for the past six seasons believes there are some similarities too.
"As a keeper, you use your hands, there is plenty of contact, and meeting an aerial ball is a bit like receiving a high kick in rugby where you have to be first to the ball. There are a number of similarities, but that's as far as it goes!”
Dijon fans will be grateful that Reynet ended up in football. The 26-year-old played a huge part in keeping the Burgundy side up last term, and was one of four nominees for the goalkeeper of the year award. Several clubs, including Montpellier, wanted to sign him in the summer, but Reynet penned a new contract with Dijon until 2021.
Weber said: "I think he’s gained in maturity and experience with age. Playing in the top flight has made him what he is now."
Dall'Oglio concurred: "He's made great progress, I think you can consider him when mentioning the top five goalkeepers in France."
The final word goes to Reynet: "Last year we had a good season staying up but for me, it was the best season of my career. But from there, can I make it into one of the top five clubs? I'm not sure but I hope I can one day, and I'll give everything to do so."