Apr 27, 1955
|Age||66 years old|
Rennes born and bred, Pierrick Hiard is THE most emblematic goalkeeper at Stade Rennais, quite apart from his attachment to the team, or his original career path. Born in Rennes, he completed his apprenticeship in the youth teams, starting in 1967, progressing up the ladder with his unbelievable maturity and technical ability. This rising star achieved a first and wonderful victory in the French FA Youth Cup (Coupe Gambardella) in 1973. That year was also to see Hiard make his professional debut aged 17 years old as understudy to the first-choice keeper of the day. He made his first start in a 2-2 draw against Paris FC. In the seasons that followed, he alternated with the then number one keeper, until he finally earned his stripes in the 1976-77 season, and became the undeniable first-choice himself. In 1978, Rennes were in desperate financial difficulties, and were obliged to sell off their players. Pierrick Hiard's market value was such that he had to be sacrificed, sold to Bastia for an amount which effectively saved the club from bankruptcy. He went on to spend 5 seasons in Corsica, and played a part in the UEFA Cup run which took his team to the final in 1978, where they were defeated by PSV Eindhoven. As an experienced keeper, he even obtained his first cap and start in the French national team in 1981 (0-2 defeat to Belgium). It proved to be his one and only appearance for the national side. In that same year, he lifted the French Cup with Bastia, beating Saint Etienne in the Final (2-1) In 1983, Hiard returned to Rennes, in spite of the interest shown by more illustrious clubs. His return coincided with the club departing on a rollercoaster ride. The joys of promotions tempered by the disappointments of relegations. But this lion-hearted goalkeeper had the club in his DNA. He ended his illustrious playing career in 1991 with a last match against an AS Cannes side featuring a certain Zinedine Zidane. He played 323 matches in total for Rennes, where his sterling loyalty to his hometown club, and his qualities as a fine goalkeeper - notably the spring in his steps and his explosiveness - were to be the things he would be best remembered for.