Raphael Varane snubbed Manchester United to stay with Real Madrid
The French defender says it was 'not easy' to turn down Jose Mourinho.
Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane confirmed he turned down the opportunity to join Manchester United for a big pay deal this summer. The Frenchman who currently has a contract with the Los Galacticos until 2020, was Jose Mourinho's number one target as a centre-back in the summer transfer window.
However, Varane turned down the lucrative offers to remain with Real Madrid and the decision was influenced by his countryman and present club boss Zinedine Zidane.
'Of course, it's flattering. Manchester United are a very big club. But from the moment when Madrid and I are in sync on my project, there're no questions to ask yourself,' Varane said.
'I have always said I feel good in Madrid. It's not easy to say no to Jose Mourinho, but you have to weigh up the pros and the cons.
'We're men, we have decisions to make and that's how it is.'
The 23-year-old has transformed into one of the best centre-backs in the world ever since his move to the Santiago Bernabeu from Lens in 2011, carrying a reputation as one of the most promising young defenders.
The ‘Special One’ played a huge part in his development during his three-year stint at Real Madrid and was keen to reunite with Raphael Varane at Old Trafford. One of the new faces in Manchester United's backline, Eric Bailly who has already adjusted well in the heart of the Red Devils defence was nevertheless Mourinho's first choice centre back. The Portuguese boss personally approached Varane to make a move but was let down in his pursuit after the defender rejected a whopping £165k-a-week deal in the Premier League to stay in Spain.
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While Jose Mourinho played an important role in his progress, Zidane was Madrid’s sporting director when Varane signed and it was he who brought his young compatriot to the club. Varane previously missed out Champions League and the Euro 2016 Tournament due to injuries. But despite not facing the best of summers Zidane has not lost his faith in Varane, the fact which the French international was sure of himself and that motivated him to stay at Real Madrid.
'It was really that trust, that support which was important for me, and when I was reassured on that point, there was no question of it anymore,' he said.
Coming off fresh after playing a full game in the Les Bleus 3-1 win over Italy in the international break, Varane will be hoping to regain his old form this season.