The former Real Madrid defender does not demand attention but his skill set is a perfect fit for the Premier League
In the 10 years since Raphaël Varane joined Real Madrid, he hasn’t done much. Apart from win the Copa del Rey, three league titles and four European Cups. There’s the World Cup, too; 360 games at the biggest club of all, and 79 more for France. But that’s about it. In his first clásico, a Copa del Rey semi-final at the Camp Nou, he cleared one chance one off the line, stopped Lionel Messi taking another and scored a superb header; in the second leg he scored again, taking Madrid to the final. He was 19, and it was all downhill from there.
Varane is 28 now, has racked up 18 winners’ medals, and has gone. Which tends to be about the time people realise what they’ve got. Varane’s departure has been a story followed closely for months – the first hint he might leave came more than a year ago – but its conclusion has passed relatively quietly. Perhaps the most striking part of his move to Manchester United is that there has been little eulogy or lament, no tearful farewells nor fierce criticism that it came to this.