Showstopper Raphael Varane poised to be king in Real’s defence

After a fantastic debut in his first El Clasico - where he saved Real against their rivals Barcelona - Varane is set to be the next big thing at Santiago Bernabeu


Raphael Varane is only 19 but he is poised to be the main man at the heart of the Real Madrid defence very soon.

After an impressive El Clasico debut in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, Spanish football fans will hear more about the young Frenchman in the near future.

Not many expected Varane to be the star of the evening - considering the number of superstars on the pitch for the first leg which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Yet, he exceeded expectations when he managed to keep out Barca’s deadly trio of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Pedro.

Everyone knows that trying to stop Messi alone is a mammoth task, but Varane put his pace to good use and saved the home side the blushes with a 'headline' performance.

The 19-year-old displayed his defensive qualities in one instance when single-handedly (using his leg), stopped the ball from going over the goal-line after an attempt from Xavi while goalkeeper Diego Lopez well off-position.

As if that is not enough, the youngster also met Mezut Ozil’s cross to equalise for Los Galacticos to see Real travel to the Nou Camp for the return leg with chances of progressing to the final.

The thing that makes Varane an outstanding player is that he is a centreback who is not only protecting his goal but is also scoring at the opposite end - in an El Clasico at that.

Grasping the opportunity to play after Pepe and Sergio Ramos were sidelined, Varane can rightfully compete for a first-11 spot.

Now Pepe has to fight to maintain his place in the starting line-up when he returns for Real.

Varane said: "I felt very good. I'm glad I played the game, it's always difficult to play against Barca and the team played well. It has been my best match in the shirt of Real Madrid and I want it to stay that way."

"I want to give my best at Real Madrid and for that I tried my best without putting too much pressure on myself.

"Jose Mourinho congratulated me and all my teammates too. They were happy for me and for the goal," the youngster added.

The future looks bright for Varane but not much is known about him.

Varane stands at 1.9m tall and was born in Lille on April 25, 1993. His football career began at Hellemmes where he played for two years - from 2000 to 2002.

At the age of nine, he moved on to play for Lens for eight years until he made it to the senior squad. He then made the switch to Los Galacticos in 2011.

Let’s keep an eye on Raphael Varane.