Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has revealed he would be happy to stay at the club for the rest of his career.
The Frenchman is rated as one of the very best centre-backs in the world, although he has regularly found himself behind the experienced duo of Sergio Ramos and Pepe in the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu in the biggest games.
Nevertheless, when asked whether he could envisage the rest of his career in the Spanish capital, Varane wouldn’t rule it out.
“Why not? Football is going very fast, but now I would say yes,” was his response, per Le Figaro (h/t EFE and Patrick Boyland of Marca). “I see no reason to leave. Things are very good at Madrid.”
In the past the 23-year-old has been linked with a move away from the European champions, with ESPN (h/t Giles Mole of the Daily Telegraph) stating during the summer that Manchester United were keen on securing the defender.
Here is a reminder why so many expect Varane to become the premier defender in world football when he reaches his peak:
Indeed, he continues to impress at Real Madrid and it’s anticipated that Varane will become the regular partner for Ramos in critical games soon, particularly given Pepe will turn 34 in February. Here’s a look at how the former Lorient man compares to his more senior team-mates in La Liga matches so far this season:
|Defender Comparison: Varane, Pepe, Ramos|
|Tackles per game||1.6||1.2||2.7|
|Interceptions per game||2||2||1.2|
|Clearances per game||3.6||4.5||2.2|
|Blocks per game||0.6||0.7||0.5|
Varane also discussed his delight at working under compatriot Zinedine Zidane, who has enjoyed a remarkable first year in charge of Los Blancos. The France international reckons the Madrid boss could go on to be a success with the national team in the future too and has praised the positive impression the coach has had on his development already.
“He is a young coach who has already won the Champions League,” said Varane of his club boss. “He is capable [of managing France]. That suits me because I am a true perfectionist, I like to work on all the points that I can improve, and that is what motivates me and pushes me to assume responsibility.”
In truth, Varane doesn’t need to make too many adjustments to his game. Physically, he has everything needed to become a world-class defender; the Madrid man is powerful, quick and agile in his duties at the back.
As noted by OptaJose earlier in the campaign, Varane has even chipped in with a couple of key goals early on in 2016-17:
He could stand to improve his concentration, which can occasionally waiver when Madrid are constantly on the attack, and his positional play, although both will naturally improve as Varane matures.
Provided he does that, Zidane will surely have no issue starting the youngster in the massive matches Madrid will inevitably be involved in. Varane admitted the prospect of playing in those games is what drives him. “I want to continue to be a regular for Real Madrid,” he added. “That's a long-term objective. I want to have game time and win trophies.”
Although there has been speculation about his future in the past, it’s always seemed unlikely that Varane would leave the Bernabeu, despite being third in the centre-back standings.
After all, he’s got the aura of a contented footballer and evidently possesses the determination to blossom at one of the world’s biggest sporting institutions. With a man like Zidane now overseeing his development, the Frenchman’s future with club and country is in brilliant hands.