Raphael Varane, the former Lens academy graduate, has broken into the first-team set-up at Real Madrid and has shown maturity far beyond his 19 years.
He produced an assured, man-of-the-match performance in his first ever appearance in the world’s biggest club fixture, El Classico, and looks set to enjoy a long and successful relationship with Madrid if he continues to progress.
Not only did he have a flawless game personally against the La Liga leaders, but he spent most of the game cleaning up the errors of his vastly more experienced centre-back partner, Ricardo Carvalho, scoring a goal to boot. His performance even drew praise from Real Madrid legend Emilio Butragueno, who told reporters: "It is quite something to play against Barcelona without making any mistakes like he did."
Quick across the ground, powerful and a good reader of the game, Varane certainly possesses the attributes that will take him to the top and the fact that he is playing alongside two of the world’s best defenders in Pepe and Sergio Ramos will only help him achieve this. The experience of Carvalho will undoubtedly assist him as well.
Although he is yet to be capped fully by the national team, he has been a stalwart of the Under-21 side in recent years, and would have made his international debut against Germany this year if he had not had to withdraw from the squad due to an injury. With another young centre-back alongside him, possibly either Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa or Mamadou Sakho, Madrid look to have a top-class centre-back pairing for many years to come.
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