Manchester United centre-back Raphael Varane has announced his retirement from international football.
Varane is one of the most successful active players in Europe, winning the World Cup and Nations League with France alongside countless successes at club level with Real Madrid.
The 29-year-old has recovered from an injury scare to star in France’s World Cup run in Qatar. He sat out the first match before starting the rest en route to a 113-minute performance in the final against Argentina, only to leave the match. field after appearing to collapse to the ground in exhaustion.
The game was Varane’s 93rd for his country and he confirmed it would be his last.
“Representing our great country for ten years has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” Varane wrote. “Every time I put on this special blue jersey, I felt immense pride. The obligation to give it my all, to play with our heart and win every time we stepped on the field. I considered it for several months and decided that the time was right for me to retired from international football.
“As a child, I remember watching France ’98, this team, these players who made us experience indescribable emotions. I dreamed of being like our heroes and 20 years later I had one of the best experiences of my life, that one, I’m really proud. We brought the cup home!! I’ll never forget it. 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, every member of the management and our staff over the years, my teammates who defended our shirts in every one of our matches.
But more importantly, this victory would not have been possible without the support of each and every one of you along the way. Your enthusiasm, celebrations and memories of our return to France will remain etched in my memory forever.
“Even after last year’s defeat in the final, you surely welcomed us as heroes when you came back with a great run. A thousand THANKS to each of you!
“I will certainly miss those moments with you, but the time has come for a 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.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Rapha.”