Tomorrow’s edition of L’Équipe contains a story which indicates that French international and multi-Champions’ League winner Raphaël Varane is questioning his long-term future at Real Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane returned to Los Blancos last week and one of the many consequences of this monumental decision is that his daily exchanges with Raphaël Varane have started again. The pair have an exceptionally close relationship, which all began in spring of 2011 when ZZ famously convinced the central defender to join the La Liga giants from RC Lens.
A relationship that has since been reinforced by a hat-trick of Champions’ League title wins together. But will the pair continue to win together? That is not so certain.
Over the last few months, with a major renovation of the Los Blancos squad whispered and shouted by the media, Varane has been considering his own future.
The 25-year-old has always taken a meticulous approach to most things in life, including his career plan. He feels that after 8 seasons at Real Madrid and with 14 titles won, he has arrived at the end of a cycle with Los Blancos.
He signed when he was just 18 and has since created one of the greatest careers in French football history for himself.
After 3 golden years, a World Cup and a 7th placed ranking in the latest Ballon D’Or, Varane, under contract until 2022, is having a more testing 2018/19 campaign.
A shortened pre-season affected his on-pitch performances in the early going, and he has not been aided by the catastrophic levels of aptitude displayed by the rest of his team-mates in a season that has seen Real Madrid appoint 3 different managers.
On top of the feeling of coming to the end of a cycle, Varane has a desire to test himself in a new environment. The Frenchman has often come across in interviews as someone who goes searching for challenges, for ways to raise his performance levels even higher.
But Varane has not yet decided – he is taking time to think and assess other possible projects. Only a handful of the world’s greatest clubs would be able to sign Madrid’s #5, because of his young age, his incredible success, experience and the likelihood that he would become the most expensive defender in the history of football.
L’Équipe estimate that any deal for Varane would cost suitors between €100m and €140m in transfer fees. Manchester United, who made a play for the soft-spoken Frenchman whilst he was still at Lens, have always kept an eye on Varane since.
Other European giants have made approaches, but Varane wants to take time to decide & assimilate as much information as possible before making a decision. Zidane’s return could prove pivotal or his return could simply reinforce the extent to which this is a new cycle at Real Madrid…