‘I’m the freestyler with the most titles in the world. But I’m getting older’ – Mélody Donchet

World freestyle football womens champion, Melody Donchet

Interview with Mélody Donchet, the freestyle footballer who is the only female or male to have been Red Bull Street Style World Champion three times.

Mélody, thanks for your time. For those who may not be aware, can you talk a little about your history with Red Bull Street Style?

I’ve been lucky enough to qualify for all the Red Bull Street Style World Finals since the creation of the World Championship for women in 2012. That was in Lecce, Italy, and then there was Japan, Brazil, London, Poland and Miami. So I’ve done six! It’s been very important for me, and out of my five titles, three are from Red Bull Street Style.

What appeals to you about this tournament?

For me, Red Bull Street Style is the best competition in the world. It’s the one I’ve participated in the most – and the competitive aspect is only part of the reason why. It’s also got a big media presence, which helps me share my passion for the sport. I want to help more and more people get to know this discipline of football.

So how did it feel to take that third win at the World Final in Miami last fall?

I was very happy. I was injured, and so taking a third title wasn’t really my objective, but lots of people encouraged me and I’m very pleased that things turned out the way they did.

Speaking of that knee problem, how are you feeling now?

I’m still not 100% because it was a major injury. I can’t see the doctor right now because of the current situation, but I have been taking care of it, and it’s not the first time I’ve been injured. I always work to find a way to succeed.

Having achieved so much, have you thought about how much longer you want to continue competing?

Right now I’m the freestyler with the most titles in the world. But I’m getting older. Maybe I should give way for the younger generation soon. I don’t know. I’m going to think about it.

The Red Bull Street Style World Championship will be entirely online this year. What are your thoughts about that?

I don’t have the details yet, but this has never been done! Nothing like this has ever existed. The final has always been on a stage in front of a big crowd, face to face. I’m really interested to find out more.

In the meantime, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

Even if I don’t know them personally, I can feel that they have confidence in me. Before Miami, I was sure I was not going to win – I told myself it was impossible. I had a lot of pain in my knee and I hadn’t been able to train for three months. But my fans, they lifted me up with their comments and messages. They said, ‘For us, you’re the best female freestyler. You’re going to win again.’ And I won! So I want to thank them all, very much, for their support.

To enter qualifying for the Red Bull Street Style World Final in 2020, visit www.redbullstreetstyle.com. UK entries close on 21 June.

Rinsola Babajide signs new contract with Liverpool FC Women

Would you like to read more women’s football news just like this? Sign up to receive the She Kicks Women’s Football newsletter