Raphael Varane has confirmed his decision to retire from international football with France, just 29 years old, in a ‘sad’ decision to greatly assist Man Utd and Erik ten Hag.
Varane has been one of the most dominant middle halves in world football over the past decade. He was a mainstay with many Real Madrid sides marching to Champions League glory every year.
Internationally, Varane made 93 appearances for France and helped his team lift the World Cup in 2018, along with the UEFA Nations League in 2021.
However, Varane has spent an alarmingly large amount of time on the treatment table since joining Man Utd as he juggles commitments for both club and country.
His first season at Old Trafford last season was limited to just 22 league games. He missed three more games in the current campaign when he was pulled over due to a hamstring problem in the fall.
Now, before he turned 30, Varane has confirmed his decision to quit international football.
The actor himself gave the news from his social media accounts with a long and heartfelt message to the French nation.
Varane makes time for his incredible France career
“Representing our great country for ten years has been one of the greatest honors of my life” Varane wrote.
“I felt tremendous pride every time I wore this special blue jersey. It’s our duty to give our all, play with our heart and win every time we go on the field. I’ve been thinking about this for a few months and I’ve decided that it’s the right time for me to quit international football.
“When I was a kid, I remember watching France ’98, this team, these players who gave us indescribable emotions. I dreamed of being our heroes and 20 years later I had one of the best experiences of my life, experiences that really make me proud. We brought the trophy home!
“I will never forget that. I still feel every single one of the emotions felt on that day, July 15, 2018. It was one of the most amazing and unforgettable moments of my life.
“This joint victory would never have been possible without the support of Didier Deschamps, the management and every member of the team, and my teammates who kept our jerseys in every game we played.
“But more importantly, this victory would not have been possible if each of you had not supported us along the way.
“The enthusiasm, celebrations and memories of our return to France will be etched in me forever.
“Even after the defeat in the final last year, you welcomed us like heroes when we came back. A thousand THANKS to each of you!
“Of course I will miss these moments with you, but it’s time for the new generation to take over. We have a group of talented young players ready to take over, who deserve a chance and need you.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Rapha.”
Deschamps shook but understanding
The decision means that the epic 2022 World Cup final between France and Argentina is Varane’s final act for his country.
France boss Didier Deschamps called the decision “sad” when he heard the news, but heralded the defender, who has been an integral part of the country’s many successes in recent years.
“I’ve had a similar situation,” Deschamps said. “I understand his arguments and I respect his decision, even if it seems sad given everything he did at the World Cup that he acted like the leader we knew from start to finish.
“Of course, I cannot turn this page without a certain emotion, given our close ties since August 2012. Like Hugo Lloris, he would have been in all my teams had he not been injured.”
Man Utd final beneficiaries
While they will never admit it publicly, the decision will be warmly received in Manchester.
Varane quickly formed a good partnership with Lisandro Martinez this season. Combined with Casemiro protecting the back four, United have become one of the hardest teams to play under Erik ten Hag.
This trio will be instrumental in everything United do well in the near future. And as Varane is now solely focused on his club career, United will benefit the most.
Varane has played an average of 11 games a year for France in the last five calendar years. Lifting this load will greatly reduce the chances of injury as you prepare to enter your 30s.
He’ll also be removed from his grueling itinerary, now with the added bonus of international breaks at the training ground in Carrington.
France’s loss is definitely Man Utd’s gain.
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