Saturday, 25 June 2011

Who is Raphaël Varane?

Raphaël Varane is an 18 year old French centre back who currently plays for French Ligue 1 side Lens, and is widely expected to sign for Spanish giants Real Madrid within the next couple of weeks.

Varane signed for RC Lens at the age of just 9, made his way through their renowned youth setup for eight years before making his way into the Lens reserve team last summer. Barely two months had past with the reserve team saw him drafted into the first team squad, and he eventually made his debut aged just 17 years old, in the 2-0 victory over Montpellier.

He was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United over the past month, and records show that the English club first showed interest as early as January. However, a deal is in place for the youngster to sign Real Madrid, with football legend Zinedine Zidane having a significant influence on the deal, after he strongly recommended the defender to Real Madrid. Madrid eventually ended up paying more than €10million to Lens, fending off reported interest from Lille, Paris Saint Germain, Arsenal, Marseille and Borussia Dortmund, signing him down to a five year contract. reports that the 18 year old is “a powerful, robust defender who already boasts impressive physical attributes despite his young age”. Zidane has lauded Varane as having a “great future” and comparing him to France World Cup winner Laurent Blanc.

My view on the 18 year old is that he is a great talent and could certainly be the future of French football. He has received some outstanding comments and plaudits from some of the most respected people in the game. Going to Real Madrid at such a young age, is what concerns me about this deal. Real are not known for nurturing young talent and incorporating them into the first team duties, their known for singing establish class players at outlandish prices.

Already at the club are first choice defenders Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe, as well as Raul Albiol and Ezequiel Garay, so Varane is in great company but will have severely limited first team opportunities considering he has only completed his first full season at the highest level, playing for a side that were relegated from Ligue 1.

A loan deal may be an option, but again this may damage his development, and he could join the list of young players who are at Real Madrid, and have been either farmed out on loan or just forgotten about and thrown on the scrap heap; names such as Pedro Leon, Esteban Granero and Serio Canales come to mind. Although I hope Madrid have a plan for Varane and don’t just waste his talents. It would have been interested to see him play another three or four seasons in the French league, and see if he could actually live up to the hype. One thing’s for certain, he’s a player of great potential, will a large fan base already, and hopefully will get the opportunity to prove his worth.

Here’s all you need to know

Age: 18 years old

Date of Birth: 25/04/1993

Place of Birth: Lille, France

Height: 6ft 3in

Position: Centre Back/Defensive Midfielder

Appearances: 22 Goals: 2

France U21 Caps: 3

Here’s the only real video of him on YouTube, he’s tidy in possession and reads the play quite well. Varane Vs Auxerre.

Real Talk Football

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