French centre-back Raphaël Varane has announced his international retirement on Instagram. The 29-year-old has established an impressive track record, both with Real Madrid and the French national team, winning the World Cup in 2018, the 2021 Nations League and four Champions Leagues (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), among other accolades. However, he has also faced physical challenges, and he reportedly wants to take more time to recover during the season. The Manchester United defender played his 93rd and last game for France during the World Cup final defeat against Argentina. Exhausted as the game went to extra-time, he was replaced at the 113rd minute by Ibrahima Konaté.
In a long message posted on his Instagram account, Varane states that representing France for a decade had been one of the biggest honours of his life. He writes that he had been thinking about international retirement for some months and decided that now was the right time to hang up his France boots. He continues by recalling that, as a kid watching the 1998 World Cup, he dreamt of emulating his childhood heroes – a feat he achieved by winning, twenty years later, the 2018 World Cup in Russia, one of the greatest and most memorable moments of his life.
Varane ends his message by acknowledging the support of France’s national boss Didier Deschamps as well as the backroom staff, his teammates and, most of all, the French supporters. “I will surely miss these moments with you. But the time has come for the new generation to pick up the baton. We have a group of talented young players who are ready to take over and who deserve a chance. They’ll need you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Rapha.“
GFFN | Bastien Cheval