Raphael Varane Says He's Staying at Real Madrid Despite Transfer Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 19: Raphael Varane of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v Real Betis Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu on May 19, 2019 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has said he will be staying at the club despite recent speculation over his future.

The France international has developed into one of the best defenders in the world at the Santiago Bernabeu, although he has endured a challenging campaign along with a number of team-mates.

Rumours have surfaced about a possible departure as such, although Varane has told Marca (h/t Football Espana) he won't be going anywhere this summer:

"I'm going to stay here next year, I'm sure we're going to relive strong emotions. We have fought and we have tried hard, and we cannot blame anything in particular but it is true that we missed that spark in the difficult moments.

"In football you have cycles and last season I was not at my best level but we will see the best Varane again. We have to evolve and Zinedine Zidane is clear about it, we have to rebuild, we have to change things as in a change of cycle."

L'Equipe first reported in March (h/t Get French Football News) that Varane could leave Real "to challenge himself again." However, he has ended any potential rumours about an exit going into a key summer for the club.

Football journalist Chris Winterburn thinks Varane's decision is a big boost for Zidane:

The Real Champs Twitter account was relieved to read the 26-year-old is not going anywhere: 

It would have been a huge loss for Madrid if Varane had moved on, as there's a lot of uncertainty about the team's defence.

Sergio Ramos has been injured since April and has struggled for consistency in recent years; at 33, the Spain international is also reaching the twilight years of his career. Jesus Vallejo has long been considered a bright prospect, but he's not convinced when given opportunities.

The club have already secured the signing of Eder Militao from Porto, and the long-term plan at the Bernabeu seems to be to pair the Brazilian with Varane at the heart of the defence.

If Varane can recapture the form he showcased in 2017-18, Madrid will have a much more prosperous season. Per French football journalist Jeremy Smith, he was ranked highly in the race for the Ballon d'Or last year:

The centre-back was crucial to Madrid's third UEFA Champions League title in a row. At the FIFA World Cup in 2018, he was outstanding for France as they clinched the trophy in Russia.

Madrid will be hopeful that after some rest and a pre-season working under Zidane, the defender will emerge again in 2019-20 as the colossal presence he's been in seasons before this one.

In a summer where so much activity is expected for Madrid, Zidane will be desperate for some key figures to provide stability throughout the spine of the team. Varane has proved he is a player capable of offering that for years to come.

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