Varane picked United to defend history: I won everything at Real, I was looking for something different

Varane picked United to defend history: I won everything at Real, I was looking for something different

Raphael Varane joined Manchester United this summer as the certainly most accomplished signing the club has had in its prime. Yet, the defender was on their radar even when he was starting out, with him confirming that Sir Alex Ferguson came to his house when he was 18, as well as to why he decided to join the club now.

SAF was the first person to explain United’s history to Varane and his mother Annie at their family home in Lens in 2011. Even though the move didn't come to fruition there, it planted a seed in Varane's head.

Varane has yet to bump into Ferguson around Old Trafford but is looking forward to reminiscing with the Scotsman about their first meeting when he was aged just 18 and deciding on his big move from Lens.

"It was a shock. To be honest, I was waiting in my house and looking out of the window to see if he was really coming. When he came, I didn’t speak English. My mum speaks perfect English, so she was the person who spoke more with him. It was a discussion about how he saw me, how he could have a project with me and how he could help me to grow as a person and player. It was very, very interesting and a very big experience for me," yet when Zinedine Zidane called him up as a sporting director of Real, the French international had no doubts. Even though he didn't recognize his voice on the phone at first.

United will not end their eight-year run without winning the Premier League title in Varane’s first season at Old Trafford. Varane, of course, has plenty of trophies and was one of the Real Madrid players who won three successive Champions League titles.

Varane revealed why he picked to join the Red Devils, citing a fight for something grander than himself.

"It's important for this club to be at the top and I'm sure fans will always remember which team comes back to the top. That's a great challenge. That’s a challenge that motivates me. I won everything [at Madrid], so maybe I was looking for a different feeling. To defend history. You have to fight for something bigger than you. You have to fight for the club and the fans and this history. That's very important."

After choosing Madrid ahead of United in 2011, Varane won a total of four Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, the Copa Del Rey, three Super Cups and four Club World Cups. But rarely were the victories savoured, such was the expectation at the Spanish club.

"After winning the Champions League, the fans don’t congratulate you. It was ‘OK, the next one’ after the first one I won. Four Champions Leagues! And they tell me, ‘OK, go to the next one.’ I just want to say sometimes you have to enjoy what you have. It was good! That’s why Madrid are special. It's because of this special mentality too. It's different. That's why I wanted to change, not because I don't like this mentality or because it's bad. It's very good, but I just wanted to try something different. Winning is something mental."

Varane reiterated his stance by giving examples.

"Maybe it's about confidence as a group, as a team. Sometimes with Madrid we played very bad, but we stayed calm because we knew our moment was coming and we would kill them. I remember games, for example, against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and they were better than us, but we won. This is confidence and we had to build it. Before starting to win the Champions League consecutively, it was not the same. The team had the same quality, but not the same result. So why? It's something mental."

Yet the central defender believes United has rare qualities that give them the edge over other teams.

"A very good example was the atmosphere at Old Trafford when we were losing 2-0 and we won the game 3-2 [against Atalanta]. The stadium pushed the team. In all the countries it's very different if you are losing 2-0 at home, the atmosphere will be very different. That's one of the reasons I came here because of the different atmosphere, different feeling in stadiums. Manchester United is special and in England it's different in comparison to other countries in Europe."

United have won all of the games in which Varane and Harry Maguire have both played the full 90 minutes.

"We have complementary qualities. I like to protect the back of the defence and he likes to go [slaps hands] in the contact. So we can do both, but, obviously, because of our characteristics we prefer some situations and that's why we are complementary. We can also play with Victor, Eric or Phil, who have their own qualities, so there are many options."


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