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The 18-year-old has featured sparingly for Los Blancos after moving to Spain from Lens last summer, but the trainer insisted that he has high hopes for the defender

Jose Mourinho has praised Real Madrid youngster Rafael Varane, stating that the 18-year-old has the ability to surpass France legend Laurent Blanc.

The defender transferred to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer from Lens for an undisclosed fee, but has only made 12 appearance for the club this season.

Mourinho, however, made clear that he holds Varane in high regard, and pointed out that the France Under-21 international can become a better player than Blanc.

"Varane has the same intelligence, the same calmness on the ball and the same presence as Laurent Blanc on the pitch," said Mourinho to France Football.

"But with all due respect to Blanc, Varane is much faster. For now, he is still a kid. But I hope and think that when he reaches maturity at 26-27 he will be better than Blanc," he concluded.

Real Madrid travel to Osasuna on Saturday as they aim to tighten their grip on the first place in La Liga.

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