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Manchester United Transfer News: Raphael Varane Talks Jose Mourinho Amid Rumours

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2017

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 18:  Raphael Varane of Real Madrid in action during the FIFA Club World Cup final match between Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers at International Stadium Yokohama on December 18, 2016 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane has spoken of the "special relationship" he enjoyed with now-Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho when the Portuguese was in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu.

As noted by Ben Nagle on MailOnline, the 23-year-old Frenchman has regularly been linked with a move to Old Trafford since Mourinho took the top job at United, not least because he has endured irregular amounts of playing time at Real.

Mourinho signed him for Real in 2011 and gave him plenty of first-team action for a youngster. Carlo Ancleotti was less generous, and Varane heaped praise on Mourinho as he assessed his time at Real up to now, per L'Equipe (via Nagle): "I had a special relationship with Mourinho. With Ancelotti, I played less, but he did extraordinary things at Real and this is what counts."

However, while Varane's comments about Mourinho could have been viewed as a hint he might be open to a move to United, when questioned on a potential switch to Old Trafford, he answered about Real, per L'Equipe (via Nagle): "I mostly wondered if the club [Real Madrid] was in line with my project, namely to play. The president and the coach told me they were going in my direction. I put my head down and I worked before and during the pre-season training."

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho gestures from the touchline during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester United at Riverside Stadium on March 19, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Under current Real boss Zinedine Zidane, Varane has enjoyed a decent amount of playing time in La Liga this season, making 18 starts in the Spanish top flight, per WhoScored.com.

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He has been out injured since late February but could be ready to return for Los Blancos' clash with Alaves on Sunday, according to Marca's Hugo Carrasco.

Given his increasingly key role at Real under Zidane, it is unlikely that Real would be open to letting him go, and he is contracted to the Madrid outfit until 2020.

He has stated before that his future lies at Real:

B/R Football @brfootball

Raphael Varane on rejecting Jose Mourinho and Manchester United to stay at Real Madrid... https://t.co/nB6B4UPTV0

Real defensive stalwart Pepe is now 34, and Varane is the obvious successor to the Portuguese in the centre of Los Blancos' back line. 

While he clearly has a strong relationship with Mourinho and could thrive working under the former Inter Milan manager again, it is clear Varane remains committed to Real.

Per The Sun's Alec Shilton, another of United's centre-back targets is Benfica's Victor Lindelof, who seems a much more realistic summer signing than Varane for the Premier League giants.

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