The Fall of Raphael Varane: A Tale of Struggle and Redemption at Manchester United

Erik ten Hag had no choice but to drop the French defender, who has looked in his shadow in the past.

“Manchester United is one of the most iconic clubs in world football and the opportunity to come here and play in the Premier League was something I couldn’t turn down. I want to make an impact here and I will give everything to be part of this club’s illustrious history .”

Raphael Varane sounded like a man motivated to add another title to his trophy-laden career when he was unveiled as a United player in August 2021. The club splashed out a £40 million ($49 million) fee on the 28-year-old following his decision to reject a new contract from Real Madrid, which at the time felt like a shrewd piece of business.

After ten seasons, 360 appearances, four Champions League titles and three La Liga crowns, Varane leaves Santiago Bernabeu as a legend. But the Spanish giants did not miss him. The whites achieved a league and European double in their first season without Varane, who quietly regretted his departure after a poor debut year at Old Trafford. He struggled to adapt to life in English football and battled injuries that plagued him as the Red Devils slumped to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League.

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The appointment of Erik ten Hag sparked Varane’s return to form in the 2022/23 season, when he partnered with new signing Lisandro Martinez. A solid foundation at the heart of the defense is vital as the Red Devils return to the Champions League and end their five-year title drought with success in the League Cup.

Even though he is in his 30s, Varane has still proven that he is capable of performing at the highest level and deserves a guaranteed place in Ten Hag’s starting XI. But, in just a few months, that dynamic has changed completely.

The World Cup winner suddenly fell by the wayside, and couldn’t even get ahead of Jonny Evans – the 35-year-old defender who returned to Old Trafford on a shock free transfer in the summer. Varane also has no reason to complain.

United now look like a more cohesive unit in Varane’s absence, and it’s hard to see a path back for him. So what exactly is wrong with the former star The whites That?


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