Real Madrid's Raphael Varane Reveals Manchester United Interest

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2018

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 6: Raphael Varane of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Real Madrid at Parc des Princes stadium on March 6, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has revealed Manchester United have shown interest in signing him. 

The France international has long been linked with a move to Old Trafford, especially since former Real boss Jose Mourinho took over as United manager in 2016, per AS

Speaking to Spanish radio programme El Larguero (via AS), Varane said he has never been contacted by the United manager with regard to a switch to the 20-time English champions but noted the club has shown an interest: "No, not directly [from Mourinho]. There were contacts, but not directly."

Varane, 24, joined Real from French club Lens in 2011 ahead of Mourinho's second season in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite only being a teenager when he moved to Real, Mourinho gave the defender plenty of opportunities.

In his two seasons under the Portuguese, he played 24 times in La Liga and made 15 appearances in the UEFA Champions League.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 02:  Head coach Jose Mourinho (R) and Real madrid player Raphael varane prior to start a press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal match between Real Madrid and Galatasaray AS at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Ap
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The centre-back has previously spoken of the "special relationship" he enjoyed with Mourinho, a factor that has often been used to link Varane with a move to United, per L'Equipe (via Ben Nagle of MailOnline).

Following Mourinho's departure from Real in 2013, Varane's progress stalled slightly, but he is a regular in the Real first team under Zinedine Zidane and has started 20 of their 28 Liga games this season despite suffering a couple of injuries.

Given he is only 24 and a long way from his peak years, Varane is a supremely talented centre-back and would be a phenomenal addition to United's back line, which is overly reliant on the likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

However, while United may have made contact in the past and would surely like to move for Varane again, it seems unlikely he would be open to leaving the Bernabeu or that Real would be happy to see him go.