Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane says Jose Mourinho played a pivotal role in helping him become the player he is today.
The centre-back joined the La Liga outfit from Lens in 2011 as one of the most exciting teenage prospects in Europe, but initially failed to force his way into the first-team.
Mourinho, who was then coach at the Bernabeu, rated Varane highly but noticed his lack of application was threatening to spoil his astronomical talent.
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Varane was taken to one side by the Special One during a training session, who asked him why he was not working as hard as his team-mates.
The France international admits that he would not be the same player he is today if it was not for that fateful conversation on that particular day.
"Mourinho always hits the right spot. He does not need long speeches. He is precise and very direct. He was doing it for my own benefit"
"During my second season at Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho gave me a kick up my arse," Varane told Le Journal du Dimanche.
"I was not doing well and I was unable to do the things I wanted to do on the pitch. So he took it up with me. He asked why I wasn't running more in training. At first I was not impressed, but I eventually realised he was right. I had to do more.
"Mourinho always hits the right spot. He does not need long speeches. He is precise and very direct. He was doing it for my own benefit.
"I need to question myself to reach my best form. Without this pressure, I tend to rest on my laurels and don't push myself."
Varane struggled to get game time under Carlo Ancelotti with the Italian seeming to prefer a centre-back pairing of Pepe and Sergio Ramos.
New manager Rafa Benitez has so far started Varane alongside Ramos in both of Real Madrid's La Liga games this season, hinting at a pivotal role for the 22-year-old.
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