Raphael Varane is a French footballer who currently plays for Manchester United and the France national team. Born on 25th April 1993 in Lille, the centre-back is equipped with all the attributes of an ideal defender.
Endowed with tremendous physical strength and speed, the Frenchman is flawless at bringing the ball out from the back. At only 24 years of age, the prodigy had cemented his place alongside Sergio Ramos at the heart of Real’s defense after producing outstanding defensive performances.
Footballing days started way early for Varane, when he joined the local club AS Hellemmes at the age of 7. Two years later, he started training with professional club RC Lens and quickly ascended up the club’s youth ranks. He represented the team in both U16 and U19 format, winning the Championnat National des 16 and in the 2008-2009 season with the former team.
In 2010, Varane was called up to the U18 team where he scored a goal on his debut match against Denmark. 2011 saw him being called for the U21 side, where his goal in the 2-0 win over Slovakia in the 2013 Euro U-21 Qualifiers ensured that France qualified to at least the competition’s playoffs.
Varane made his professional debut for Lens in the 2010-2011 season against Montpellier, where he played the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 win. Varane quickly rose through the ranks and soon became a regular starter for the team. He was even appointed captain of the team in a match against Arles-Avignon in 2011, which is a major feat for someone so young.
Varane was called for the French national team in 2012 in a friendly against Uruguay but he could not get a chance to play. In 2013, Varane started his first game for France in a qualifier for the World Cup against Georgia. His impressive performance at the international level earned him a seat in the France squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Rise to Glory
After Lens was relegated back to Ligue 2 in 2011, Varane signed a six-year contract with Real Madrid for a transfer fee reported to be around 10 million Euros. At 19 years of age with little experience, it was always going to be difficult for Varane to force his way into the first team. He had to wait a few months before making his La Liga debut, which came in a match against Racing Santander in September 2011. Three days later, Varane became the youngest foreign goal scorer for Madrid after his goal against Rayo Vallecano, thus marking his arrival in style.
Since then, the journey has only been upwards for the Frenchman. The 2012-2013 season saw him conquer another milestone when he conjured up a phenomenal equalizing goal in a match against Barcelona in Copa del Ray. The goal made him the second-youngest foreign player to score in a Clasico. Varane managed to score another brilliant goal in the second leg of the game.
Having won La Liga twice, Copa del Ray once and Champions League thrice with Real, Varane has established himself among the top defenders of the World today. His exceptional tackles, perfect interceptions, and ability to start attacks from the back make him an invaluable asset to the team. With over 40 international games for France under his bag, it will be interesting to see how the French footballing sensation fares in the upcoming FIFA World Cup.