Real Madrid star Raphael Varane has this evening confirmed that he will still be plying his trade with the Spanish giants next season.
Varane, a 26-year-old central-defender, made the move to the Bernabeu in 2011, as a raw teen.
After gradually working his way into the first-team setup of Los Blancos over the seasons that followed, the Frenchman established himself as a certified starter during the 2014/15 campaign.
And the years since have seen Varane develop into one of world football’s most highly-regarded stoppers.
The Lens youth product’s near-unique combination of reading of the game and athleticism allow him to regularly shut down the attacks of opposing sides before they begin, which, when added to Varane’s ability both in the tackle and in the air, come together to make up the package of a complete defender.
And the 55-time capped French international’s eye-watering trophy-haul certainly reflects that of a player with the world at his feet, with Varane, despite being just 26, having already racked up 4 Champions League crowns, a pair of La Liga titles, the Copa Del Rey and more with Real, as well as the World Cup with France.
Varane’s uncharacteristic struggles
However, this past season saw Varane fail to showcase his brilliant best on a consistent basis.
The stopper often looked a shell of his dominant self, at the heart of a struggling Real backline.
And Varane’s dip in form led to subsequent reports stemming from his home country of France, suggesting that the world champion was taking into serious consideration a departure from the Spanish capital this summer.
L’Equipe even went as far as to state that Varane had set his sights firmly on a new challenge.
As such, the likes of Manchester United, Juventus and PSG were all quickly touted as potential summer destinations for the Blancos’ star.
‘Going to continue here’
However, on the back of fresh claims from L’Equipe this afternoon that Zinedine Zidane had swayed Varane back towards remaining at the Bernabeu, the stopper has since confirmed as much:
‘I’m going to continue here next year. I’m sure we’re going to relive strong emotions.’
On both his and Real’s struggles this season, meanwhile, Varane continued:
‘We have fought and we have tried hard. We can not blame anything. But it is true that we missed that spark in the difficult moments.’
‘They are cycles. I have not been to my best level but I will see the best Varane again.’
‘We have to evolve and Zidane is clear about it.’
‘We have to rebuild. We have to change things as in a change of cycle.’
Quotes via Marca