At only 19 years of age, Raphael Varane has made a remarkable start to his career. Emerging on 6th November 2010 for Lens, after injury problems forced the club to look at their reserves, his career has skyrocketed.
On his Lens debut he impressed massively, receiving praise from teammates, his manager and the local media. He then occupied the bench before returning at the end of the month in a defeat to Brest, a loss that cost the Lens manager his job. The change in personal could have affected Varane’s playing time but under new manager Laszlo Boloni he continued to get chances at the centre of defence as well as defensive midfield.
After signing a contract extension in February 2011 to quell transfer interest, young Varane scored equalisers in two consecutive matches against Caen and Monaco. He captained the relegated Lens side on 21st May before heading off to Real Madrid, for a reported fee of €10 million, after making just 24 appearances for Lens.
His impact at Real Madrid was instant, just like it was for Lens. His debut came on 21st September 2011 in a 0-0 draw with Racing Santander. Three days later, he started and scored his first goal for the club in a victory over Rayo Vallecano- becoming the youngest ever foreign player to score for Real. He then debuted in the Champions League during a 3-0 victory over Ajax. In his next Champions League game he grabbed an assist in a victory that secured Real top spot.
This season is when Varane has captured the eyes of supporters. After switching to the number 2 shirt he made his first start of the season as Real defeated Manchester City 3-2 in the Champions League. He continued to impress as the season progressed and in his first El Clasico match he put in a man of the match performance that included a goal line clearance from Xavi’s attempt, before scoring. The game finished 1-1. In the second leg, he scored again as Madrid won 3-1 at the Nou Camp.
His performances have rightly attracted the interest of France, but he’s yet to make his international debut after being an unused substitute in a friendly last August. He will get his chance and he will take it with both hands, like he has done throughout his career.
With just 42 appearances in his entire career, Varane has already shown what he is capable of. It’s scary to think that he is only 19 years old. Expect to see him debut for his national side soon, expect to see him continue to impress at club level in the league and in Europe, expect him to become one of the world’s best defenders.
He’s got his entire career ahead of him and he’s already broken into the starting XI of one of the best teams in the world and is banging on the door of his national side. By next years World Cup in Brazil I’m expecting him to be in the starting slots for his national side too and being so young, France can choose to build the defence around him if they so wish.
They should, as he is going to be something very special.
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