Varane 'flattered' by Ancelotti praise

The France international has returned to Real Madrid's starting line-up after a lengthy spell on the sidelines to high adulation from the former Paris Saint-Germain coach
Raphael Varane is flattered by Carlo Ancelotti's recognition of the his abilities but is well aware that he is not yet the finished article.

The 20-year-old Real Madrid defender made his comeback from a knee injury in the midweek Champions League victory over Copenhagen and kept his place in defence as Los Blancos squeezed past Levante 3-2 on Saturday evening.

His return to the line up saw him draw praise from Ancelotti for the way in which he handled himself during the five month lay-off, the coach even going as far as to suggest that the Frenchman is already amongst the top centre-backs in the game today.

"It's flattering," Varane told Telefoot. "It gives me a desire to continue to move forward.

"I play in one of the biggest clubs in the world, along with great defenders, and competition is fierce. It allows me to evolve and continue to grow."

Varane's return to fitness has seen him rushed back into the France set-up, too, with Didier Deschamps ushering the youngster back into the squad for Les Bleus' final World Cup qualifier against Finland.

With only two caps to his name so far, the defender knows that he does not have a wealth of experience at international level but is still grateful for the level of faith being shown in him by his country.

"Les Bleus are a challenge for me and I want to stay," he explained. "The fact that Deschamps calls me back is a mark of trust. It makes me happy. To go back to the group, it gives me confidence and it is positive."

Varane also fielded questions about the form of fellow France and Madrid man Karim Benzema but was quick to quash any concerns over the striker's current lack of form.

"We talk a lot. He is a hard worker," the defender stated. "I think he is well physically. Mentally, he is focused on his goals so I'm not worried about him."