Raphael Varane has confirmed he was close to agreeing a move to Manchester United in 2011 before Real Madrid eventually swooped in.
The France international was virtually an anonymous figure amongst European football fans but scouts from the continents biggest clubs were fully aware of his talents. Manchester United were one such club and Sir Alex Ferguson tried his best to seal the young talent.
Varane has now revealed that he went as far as to meet with Old Trafford officials, claiming a deal was verging on completion. However, the chance to make the move to the Bernabeu proved too tempting to turn down.
"There was also an interesting project [on offer] but I made a choice for my career"
"We were close to an agreement with Manchester United," he told Telefoot. "My mom speaks English and this facilitated the translation.
"There was also an interesting project [on offer] but I made a choice for my career.
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Real Madrid eventually paid €10 million to sign the then-18-year-old from Lens, who immediately found a place in Jose Mourinho's first team.
"I think I can go higher and mark my generation"
He is now one of the most promising young footballers in the world and has already established himself as a first team regular in the France national team and under Real Madrid's new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Varane, now 20, is more than aware of his exceptional talent and is keen to make sure he fulfills it during what promises to be an illustrious career. For him, that means becoming one of the standout players of his generation.
He said: "I think I can go higher and mark my generation. I would be happy to tell myself I did the maximum and went as far as I could during my career."
Jose Mourinho has recently spoken about how a deal for Varane came about. Now the manager of Chelsea, the Special One, along with Manchester United, has been linked with a bid to bring him to the Premier League.
"I was on vacation," the Blues boss explained. "La Liga was over. I was in Madrid and Zinedine Zidane shows up with a DVD.
"I looked at the player and I was very happy with what I saw."