‘Right time’: Man Utd and France defender Raphael Varane explains international retirement decision

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Raphael Varane has played in three World Cup tournaments with France.

Manchester United’s Raphael Varane has announced his retirement from international football, less than two months after defeat in the 2022 World Cup final. After concerns that he would miss the tournament through injury, Varane made six appearances in Qatar including a start in the finale as they were beaten on penalties by Argentina.

“Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honours of my life,” Varane wrote on his Instagram account. “Every time I wore this very special blue jersey I felt immense pride. The duty to give it all, play my heart out and win every time we put on the field. I’ve been contemplating this for several months and deciding it’s the right time for me to retire internationally.”

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The centre-back made his debut for France in 2013 and has gone onto earn 93 caps, while scoring five goals and featuring heavily as Didier Deschamps’ side won the 2018 World Cup trophy. He joins Tottenham Hotspur’s Hugo Lloris as the latest player from the squad to step down from the international stage.

“As a child, I remember following France 98, this team, these players who made us experience indescribable emotions,” Varane added.

“I dreamed of being our heroes and 20 years later I lived one of the best experiences of my life, one that made me really proud. We brought home the Cup! I will never forget it. I still feel every single one of the emotions felt on that day, July 15, 2018. That was one of the most amazing and memorable moments of my life.”

Varane joined the Red Devils from Real Madrid in 2021 and has since become a popular figure at Old Trafford, however has struggled with a number of injuries since his arrival that has seen him over 100 days of action. The news of the Frenchman’s retirement has come to many United fans’ delight as they look to keep him fit over the coming seasons.

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