The 29-year-old called time on his Les Bleus career earlier this week, less than six weeks after playing a pivotal role in helping Didier Deschamps’s side come within a whisker of defending the trophy they won in Russia back in 2018.
France appear to possess several natural replacements for the Manchester United centre-half with the likes of William Saliba, Benoit Badiashile and Ibrahima Konate all potential successors.
Varane, however, was criticised by Jerome Rothen, a former France international, who claimed the elegant centre-half’s decision was a ‘disaster’ and he should have stuck around to help nurture the next generation.
Explaining how he came to the decision, Varane hit back telling RMC: ‘I gave everything, physically and mentally. 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.’
Playing fewer games and protecting a body that has succumbed to injury on numerous occasions in recent years will certainly be of benefit to United and Erik ten Hag.
The Dutchman has begun to get the best out of Varane this season after a difficult start to his Premier League career and the United boss believes their is still more to come from his most senior defender.
‘Yeah, for United, I think it’s good news,’ said the manager, at his pre-match press conference for United’s home clash with Crystal Palace.
‘I think Rapha has achieved everything, in international football, and club-wise. I think it is incredible what he has achieved. Big respect [to him] and I’m happy he now puts all of his energy and his experience into our team.
‘He still has a lot to come because he is ambitious. He wants to win with Manchester United.
‘I didn’t discuss [it with him]. Rapha is experienced, he makes his own decisions of course about that. But he gave me the information that he was intending to do this, yes.
‘I can only express my deep respect for his career until now.’
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