Varane training for Real Madrid in 2011
|Full name||Raphaël Varane|
|Date of birth||25 April 1993|
|Place of birth||Lille, France|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15:51, 17 May 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Raphaël Varane (French pronunciation: [vaʁan]; born 25 April 1993) is a French international footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid in La Liga. He primarily plays as a central defender. Varane is a France youth international, having earned caps at under-18 and under-21 level, and since March 2013 also a full international.
He previously played for French club Lens and, ahead of the 2010–11 season, began training with the senior team and appeared on the bench in several league matches. On 7 November 2010, Varane made his professional debut in a league match against Montpellier. Varane has been described by Lens youth coach Eric Assadourian as a "truly first class player" who is "comfortable on both the tactical and technical level". In January 2014, he was named by The Guardian as one of the ten most promising young players in Europe.
Varane was born in the city of Lille in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. He is of Martiniquais heritage through his father who is originally from Le Morne-Rouge, while his mother was raised in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux. Varane began his football career in the Arrondissement of Lille playing for local club AS Hellemmes at the age of seven. After spending two years at the club, in July 2002, he joined professional club RC Lens, despite some interest from Derby du Nord rivals and hometown club Lille OSC. Similar to the development of the club's previous prized assets such as Gaël Kakuta and Timothée Kolodziejczak, Varane spent time at the Centre de Préformation de Football in nearby Liévin, a training center exclusively for players brought up in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. He spent two years at the center training there during the weekdays and playing with Lens on the weekends.
After returning full-time to Lens, Varane quickly ascended up the club's youth ranks. In the 2008–09 season, alongside teammates Thorgan Hazard and Geoffrey Kondogbia, he played on the club's under-16 team that won the Championnat National des 16 ans. In the following season, Varane was promoted to the club's under-19 team, despite being two years younger than several of his teammates. Ahead of the 2010–11 season, Varane signed his first professional contract. He was, subsequently, promoted to the club's reserve team in the Championnat de France amateur. Varane made his amateur debut in the club's opening league match of the campaign in a 2–0 victory over Drancy. He appeared as a starter in the club's next nine matches with the team losing only one of them.
In late October of the campaign, Varane was called up to the senior team by manager Jean-Guy Wallemme to train ahead of the club's match against Montpellier on 6 November. He trained with the team for the entire week and, due to an injury to centre back Alaeddine Yahia, Varane was, surprisingly, named to the starting lineup. In the match, he played the full 90 minutes in a 2–0 victory. The victory was only the club's third clean sheet of the season. Varane was praised by teammates, most notably captain Adil Hermach, defending partner Eric Chelle, and striker David Pollet, as well as by the local media and coach Wallemme. In the next two matches, Varane, alongside several other youth players, sat on the bench as Lens faced two tough teams in Marseille and Lyon. He returned to the starting lineup on 30 November in a 4–1 defeat to Brest. Despite the firing of Wallemme following the Brest match, Varane remained a starter in the team under new manager László Bölöni. In December, with both Chelle and Yahia returning to action, Varane was placed in the defensive midfielder role in the team's match against Bordeaux. In the match, he acted as a roving third centre back and made a blocked save in the 84th minute on a close range shot by Yoan Gouffran to preserve a 2–1 lead. However, in the latter stages of the match, Bordeaux equalized to draw the match at 2–2.
In January 2011, Varane was the subject of transfer speculation with the player being linked to several clubs. In an effort to quell the interest, on 3 February 2011, he signed a two-year contract extension with Lens until 2015. On 8 May, Varane scored his first professional goal in a 1–1 draw with Caen. In the team's following match against Monaco, he scored the equalizing goal in another 1–1 draw. Despite the goal, the stalemate condemned Lens to relegation back to Ligue 2 after two seasons in the top division. On 21 May, Varane captained Lens in its 1–0 defeat to Arles-Avignon.
On 22 June 2011, Lens president Gervais Martel confirmed to a group of supporters at a club meeting that Varane would be joining Spanish club Real Madrid stating "He will play for Real Madrid under the guidance of José Mourinho". Varane had previously visited Real Madrid's club facilities and also met with club advisor and compatriot Zinedine Zidane. On 27 June, the move was confirmed by Real Madrid after Varane successfully passed his medical. Varane signed a six-year contract with the club and the 
Varane was assigned the number 19 shirt and made his club debut for Real Madrid in the club's opening pre-season fixture against American outfit Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2011 World Football Challenge. He appeared as a half-time substitute as Real Madrid cruised to a 4–1 win. Varane made his first start for the club four days later in a 3–0 win over Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara. He finished the pre-season campaign appearing in seven of the eight pre-season matches Real Madrid contested. Varane was an unused substitute in the first leg of Real Madrid's 5–4 aggregate defeat to Barcelona in the 2011 Supercopa de España.
Varane made his competitive debut for Real Madrid on 21 September in the team's league match against Racing Santander. He started the match at centre back alongside Ricardo Carvalho as the match ended 0–0. In the team's next league match three days later against Rayo Vallecano, Varane started and scored his first goal for the club after a flying back-heel shot following a Mesut Özil corner. Real Madrid won the match 6–2. Varane's goal made him the youngest foreign player at 18 years and 152 days to score a goal in a competitive match for Real Madrid. On 27 September, he made his UEFA Champions League debut in a 3–0 group stage win over Dutch club AFC Ajax. Two months later, Varane made his second Champions League appearance against Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb. In the match, Varane started and assisted on the team's fifth goal, scored by José Callejón, in a 6–2 win. The victory ensured Real Madrid first place in its group.
Ahead of the 2012–13 season, Varane switched to the number 2 shirt. After failing to appear in Real Madrid's first four league matches, he made his season debut on 18 September in the club's opening UEFA Champions League group stage match against English club Manchester City. Varane started and played the entire match as Real Madrid won 3–2.
On 30 January 2013, Varane made his El Clásico debut against FC Barcelona in the 2012–13 Copa del Rey. He stopped a group of dangerous attempts from Barcelona, including a shot from Xavi that he cleared from the goal line. He capped his performance with a headed goal in the game, which ended 1–1. He also became the second-youngest foreign player to score for Real Madrid in a Clásico match. In the return leg at the Camp Nou on 26 February 2013, Varane scored Madrid's third goal in a 3–1 away win with a header from a corner kick by Mesut Özil. Varane gained praise from former World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu after his performances against Barcelona and Manchester United. He said "We are talking about a kid at Real Madrid who has unseated Pepe, and Pepe, with all his stuff, is still a great centre-half. His performance against Manchester United and Barcelona was extraordinary". Varane continued to impress in the Champions League quarter final first leg against Galatasaray, where he helped Madrid keep a clean sheet in a 3–0 triumph. All of his 27 passes found his teammates without any interception, and all of his tackles succeeded, with most on Didier Drogba.
In April 2013, he was named by Marca as a member of the "Best foreign eleven in Real Madrid's history". On 14 May 2013 Varane successfully underwent an operation on his right knee after an injury he had picked up during his last 2012-13 league match against Real Sociedad.
He played all 120 minutes of Real Madrid's 4–1 win over Atlético Madrid in the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, in place of the more experienced Pepe, who has not fully recovered from an injury. In added time at the end of extra time, after Cristiano Ronaldo scored the last goal, Varane kicked the ball towards Atlético manager Diego Simeone, causing him to run onto the pitch in anger. Simeone was sent to the stands and Varane booked for the incident. After the game, Atlético captain Gabi excused Varane due to his youth, while Simeone himself said "I also made a mistake with my reaction. He's a young guy with a bright future".
On 30 January 2013, Real Madrid's Assistant Coach Aitor Karanka talked about Varane in the press conference post El Clásico of the Copa del Rey and said "It's obvious that Varane has a good head on his shoulders and will keep improving". The following day, Varane was described by AS as Real Madrid's Lion. Varane is said to have good defensive reading of matches.
Former France defender Frank Leboeuf believes that Varane has the potential to be better than Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro as he said to the reporters “Many compare him to Hierro due to his technique, but on the physical level he is stronger and he is much faster”.
Varane is a France youth international having earned caps at under-18 and under-21 level. Prior to playing for the under-18 team, he was called up to the under-17 team, but did not make an appearance. Varane made his debut with the under-18 team on 24 August 2010 in a friendly match against Denmark. On his debut, he scored the final goal in a 2–0 victory. Varane turned down subsequent call-ups to the under-18 team because of his increased participation with the Lens first team and, as a result, missed the Tournoi de Limoges and a tournament in Israel. On 3 February 2011, he was called up to the under-21 team by coach Erick Mombaerts for the first time for a friendly match against Slovakia. Varane described the call up as "a huge surprise". He earned his first under-21 cap and start in the match against Slovakia playing the entire match in a 3–1 win. On 15 November, Varane scored his first under-21 goal in a 2–0 2013 Euro U-21 qualifying win over Slovakia. The victory ensured France qualification to at least the competition's qualifying playoffs.
In August 2012, Varane was called to the full French national team squad for a friendly, but was an unused substitute. He started his first match for France on 22 March 2013 in a qualifier for the World Cup against Georgia, a 3–1 victory. On 13 May 2014, he was included in Didier Deschamps' squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
On 15 June 2014, he partnered Mamadou Sakho in central defence during Les Bleus' first World Cup fixture – a 3–0 defeat of Honduras. He was also in the starting line-up for the second group match against Switzerland and the knockout matches against Nigeria and Germany, as France were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by the Germans.
- (Correct as of 24 May 2014)
|Club||Season||League||Cup[nb 1]||Europe||Other[nb 2]||Total|
- Real Madrid
- La Liga (1): 2011–12
- Copa del Rey (1): 2013–14
- Supercopa de España (1): 2012
- UEFA Champions League (1): 2013–14
- Includes Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue, and Copa del Rey matches.
- Includes Supercopa de España, UEFA Supercup, and FIFA Club World Cup matches.
- "Varane: Raphaël Varane". BDFutbol. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
- "Gervais Martel a répondu aux supporters" (in French). RC Lens. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- "Lens v. Montpellier Match Report" (in French). Ligue de Football Professionnel. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2010.
- "Qui sont Varane, Kondogbia, Hazard et Deligny" (in French). Lensois. 9 March 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "The next 10 big things: Europe's top youngsters and stars of the future". The Guardian. 18 January 2014.
- "Raphael Varane: Volontaire et déterminé." (in French). Antilles-foot. 29 January 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- "L'ASH en tournoi international" (in French). Nord Eclair. 3 May 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Varane: "J'ai grandi au RC Lens"" (in French). Lensois. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Varane et Deligny également pros?" (in French). RC Lensois. 16 April 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Abécédaire: V comme Raphaël Varane" (in French). Lensois. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Lens v. Drancy Match Report" (in French). Foot-National. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Raphaël Varane débutera face à Montpellier dimanche" (in French). La Voix des Sports. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Lens emporté par le souffle de la jeunesse" (in French). Nord Eclair. 9 November 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "J'ai été surpris par Raphaël Varane" (in French). Lensois. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Marseille v. Lens Match Report" (in French). Ligue de Football Professionnel. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Lens v. Lyon Match Report" (in French). Ligue de Football Professionnel. 21 November 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Brest v. Lens Match Report" (in French). Ligue de Football Professionnel. 30 November 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Match Commentary: Bordeaux v. Lens". Sky Sports. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Bordeaux v. Lens Match Report" (in French). Ligue de Football Professionnel. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Manchester United eye move for Lens teenage starlet Varane". Daily Mail. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Varane: "J'ai prolongé à Lens jusqu'en 2015"" (in French). Lensois. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- "Raphaël Varane prolonge jusqu'en 2015" (in French). La Voix du Nord. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- "Raphael Varane prolonge à Lens!" (in French). Chronofoot. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- "Caen v. Lens Match Report" (in French). Ligue de Football Professionnel. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
- "Monaco v. Lens Match Report" (in French). Ligue de Football Professionnel. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Lens go down after Monaco draw". ESPN. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Lens v. Arles-Avignon Match Report" (in French). Ligue de Football Professionnel. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- "Varane au Real selon Martel" (in French). L'Equipe. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- "Real confirm capture of starlet Varane". ESPN. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
- "Raphaël Varane supera el reconocimiento médico". Real Madrid C.F. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
- "Comunicado Oficial". Real Madrid C.F. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
- "Raphaël Varane firma su contrato con el Real Madrid". Real Madrid C.F. 27 June 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-06-30. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
- "LA Galaxy 1–4 Real Madrid". Real Madrid C.F. 16 July 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- "Chivas Guadalajara 0–3 Real Madrid". Real Madrid C.F. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- "Barcelona–Real Madrid". Real Madrid C.F. 14 August 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- "Racing Santander 0–0 Real Madrid". Real Madrid C.F. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "Real Madrid 6–2 Rayo Vallecano". Real Madrid C.F. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "Real: Varane entre déjà dans l’histoire". TV5 Monde (in French). 14 August 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "Masterful Madrid too much for Ajax". Union of European Football Associations. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
- "Perfect Madrid put six past Dinamo". Union of European Football Associations. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
- "Ronaldo completes remarkable Madrid comeback". Union of European Football Associations. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- "The best foreign eleven in Real Madrid's history". Marca.com. 12 April 2013.
- "Madrid crowned clasico kings". ESPN. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Simeone squares up to Varane". Marca. 25 May 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- http://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satellite/en/1330135581665/noticia/Noticia/Karanka:__The_team_did_an_amazing_job_and_really_were_good_.htm. Retrieved 2013-01-30. Missing or empty
- http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/3277/la-liga/2013/03/27/3857599/lebouef-varane-could-surpass-hierro. Retrieved 2013-02-27. Missing or empty
- "Des débuts victorieux (2–0)" (in French). French Football Federation. 24 August 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Kakuta et Varane avec les Espoirs" (in French). Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Varane: "Une énorme surprise"" (in French). French Football Federation. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "France 3–1 Slovaquie" (in French). French Football Federation. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "France open up six-point lead with Slovakia win". Union of European Football Associations. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
- "France breeze past Georgia". Sky Sports News. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- "World Cup 2014: Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy not in France squad". BBC Sport. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- "France 3-0 Honduras". BBC. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "World Cup 2014: Fifa announces Golden Ball shortlist". BBC. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Raphaël Varane statistics
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Raphaël Varane.|
- Real Madrid official profile
- Raphaël Varane French league stats at LFP.fr (French)
- Raphaël Varane at L'Équipe Football (French)
- Raphaël Varane – UEFA competition record
- Raphaël Varane career stats at Soccerbase
- France profile at FFF