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Man Utd title plans boosted by Varane as star retires from France duty

Manchester United have received a boost with Raphael Varane planning to retire from international duty, according to reports in France. The 29-year-old won the World Cup for his nation but his international career ended in heartbreak following the 2022 final defeat to Argentina in Qatar. 

Varane has won 93 caps for his nation having been an integral part of Les Blues’ defence for the best part of the last decade. However, he has called time on his international career before his 30th birthday, given the physical and mental toll it has taken on him.

In a statement, Varane wrote: “Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honours of my life. Each time I wore this special blue jersey, I felt immense pride. The duty to give everything, to play with my heart and to win every time we enter the field. I have been thinking about it for several months and decided that it was the right time for me to retire from international football.

“As a child, I remember following France 98, this team, these players who made us experience indescribable emotions. I dreamed of doing like our heroes and, 20 years later, I had one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, one that made me really proud. We brought the Cup home!! I will never forget him. I still feel every single emotion I felt that day, July 15, 2018. It was one of the greatest and most memorable moments of my life.

“This victory that we won together would never have been possible without the support of Didier Deschamps, of each of the members of the management and our staff during these years, of my team-mates who defended our shirt at each of our matches. But more importantly, this victory would not have been possible without the support of each of you along this path.

“Your enthusiasm, the celebrations and the memories of our return to France will remain etched in my mind forever. Even after the defeat in the final last year, with certainly a great run, you welcomed us as heroes when we returned. To each and every one of you, a thousand times THANK YOU!

“I will miss these moments with you for sure, but the time has come for the new generation to take over. We have a group of talented young players who are ready to take over, who deserve a chance and who need you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Rapha.”

His decision follows that of fellow long-serving World Cup winners Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda will the final in Qatar proving to be the end of an era for France. Varane had served as the nation’s vice-captain over the last few years but looks prepared to pass up the chance of inheriting the armband permanently with his retirement. 

The news will come as a huge boost to United with the centre-back an integral part of the club’s backline. The Red Devils have serious aspirations of winning the title in the coming years and can now count on the full focus of Varane in this quest. 

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Varane joined United from Real Madrid last summer however his time at the club has been disrupted by persistent injury issues. He has missed 25 matches with a range of problems during his 18 months in the squad but his retirement from international football will help reduce the toll on his body. 

Another motivation for the 29-year-old is to spend more time with his family after 10 years at the very top of European football. Varane’s immediate focus will be on the task at hand at Old Trafford with his first final in a Red jersey upcoming at the end of the month. United secured their place in the final two by beating Nottingham Forest 5-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals with Newcastle the upcoming opposition. 

United are set for a busy month with the club still competing on four fronts as the quest for Europa League and FA Cup glory continues. A shot at the Premier League this year looks increasingly unlikely given Arsenal’s healthy lead at the top of the table but the Red Devils are in a strong position to enter the Champions League. 

Varane will be an integral part of what the club will try to achieve in the coming seasons and it appears he is set to devote even more time to succeeding in these goals with his international retirement.

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