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R. Varane

'I feel like I'm suffocating' - Man Utd star Varane explains France retirement and hits out at 'overloaded' schedule

14:39 GMT 04/02/2023
Raphael Varane France 2022
Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has given his reasons for retiring from the French national team, which was announced on Thursday.

WHAT HAPPENED? The 29-year-old surprised many with his decision but called his decade representing France as "one of the greatest honours of my life", while Les Blues head coach Didier Deschamps labelled the decision "regrettable". It had been suggested that the heavy domestic and international schedule was taking its toll on Varane, something which the player has since confirmed in an interview with Canal+.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I gave everything, physically and mentally," the centre-back told the French outlet. "But the very highest level is like a washing machine, you play all the time and you never stop. We have overloaded schedules and play non-stop. Right now, I feel like I’m suffocating and that [Varane] the player is gobbling up [Varane] the man."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Varane thus calls time on an illustrious international career, boasting a World Cup and Nations League trophy to his name alongside 93 caps. France, meanwhile, face a major overhaul in their squad as the 29-year-old joins former skipper Hugo Lloris alongside Karim Benzema in hanging up their international boots. Deschamps is therefore left with the task of handing the proverbial baton to the younger generation, after he was announced to be staying on at the helm for two more years.


WHAT NEXT FOR VARANE? With him now fully focused domestic matters with Manchester United, the centre-back will be at the heart of defence once again when they host Crystal Palace in the league later this Saturday.