Raphael Varane says France must avoid comparing their current squad to the team that won the 2018 World Cup, after reaching the knockout stage at Qatar 2022.

Les Bleus are looking to defend the title they won in Russia, and are into the last 16 after opening victories against Australia and Denmark in Group D.

Varane, who returned from an injury sustained on club duty with Manchester United to feature in his country's second game, was a member of Didier Deschamps' side that beat Croatia 4-2 in the final in Moscow four years ago.

But the centre-back says the current crop must dodge the pitfalls of measuring their current achievements against those set before, despite the presence of several World Cup-winning players.

"You have to avoid making too many comparisons," he stated. "This is another moment, and you have to be present.

"Each major tournament has its history, with different players and contexts. Four years in football is an eternity.

"We can draw inspiration from before, from the state of mind that we had then, but we must not try to copy."

France – who play Tunisia in their final group game on Wednesday – will be without World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez for the rest of the tournament after he suffered a knee injury in their opening clash with Australia.

His brother Theo has deputised at left-back since, replacing Hernandez in the first half against Australia and continuing in the position against Denmark.

Reflecting on his sibling's injury, Theo Hernandez claimed his brother has requested the World Cup be brought back for him, saying: "Since he left [the squad], I have spoken with him every day.

"He tells me that we have to win, to bring him back the World Cup. We will have to work hard to continue like this though."

Aurelien Tchouameni has rubbished suggestions the France squad is a more harmonious place without Karim Benzema after reaching the World Cup knockout rounds.

Didier Deschamps' side are into the last 16 at Qatar 2022 after victory over Denmark in Group D, with Kylian Mbappe's double firing Les Bleus to a 2-1 win on Saturday.

The attacker has delivered for his side so far in the absence of Benzema, with the Ballon d'Or winner ruled out on the eve of the tournament with a thigh injury.

Some reports have suggested there has been a better atmosphere in the absence of the Real Madrid star, who was not involved at Russia 2018, but Tchouameni has now sought to dispel those rumours.

"I want to come back to something we saw concerning the departure of Karim," Tchouameni stated about his club and international team-mate.

"[Somewhere said] we have felt better since he was no longer here.

"It's totally false. Even when he was there, it was already going well. We have been hurt by these reports.

"What I can tell you is that since we arrived in Qatar, things have been going really well."

With two games under his belt, Tchouameni is fast becoming an integral member for Deschamps in his side's title defence, with France boosted too by the return of defender Raphael Varane.

The Manchester United centre-back has been nursing a problem since late October, but made his return to action with a start against Denmark.

Reflecting on his injury, Varane added: "I've come a long way. It's been a lot of work, a lot of effort to come back.

"I feel good. It's always special to play at this exceptional event. I'll take advantage of every moment. We will do everything to go as far as possible."

France will conclude their Group D campaign against Tunisia on November 30, and will discover their last-16 opponents later that day when Group C concludes.

Didier Deschamps recalled Raphael Varane to his starting XI for France's World Cup clash with Denmark.

Varane, who has not played since he was forced off with an injury in Manchester United's Premier League game with Chelsea on October 22, was one of three changes made to the France team for Saturday's game in Doha.

Deschamps confirmed on Friday that Varane had been fit to feature in the opening game, and had trained without any issues prior to France's second match of the tournament.  The former Real Madrid centre-back replaced Ibrahima Konate in France's XI.

Les Bleus head into the match at Stadium 974 knowing that victory would ensure their progression to the last 16.

The holders thrashed Australia 4-1 in their opening Group D game, though suffered another injury blow in that match, with Lucas Hernandez sustaining a serious knee injury.

Hernandez was replaced by his brother, Theo, and the latter started at left-back against the Danes, with Barcelona defender Jules Kounde replacing Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard at right-back.

Olivier Giroud will become France's all-time leading goalscorer the next time he finds the net, and the Milan forward was given the nod up top, leading a line that also included Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand made four changes.

Thomas Delaney was injured in the draw with Tunisia on Tuesday and makes way for Mikkel Damsgaard, while Victor Nelsson replaced Simon Kjaer in the defence and Jesper Lindstrom came in for Andreas Skov Olsen.

Andreas Cornelius missed a fantastic chance to seal the points for Denmark against Tunisia, hitting the post from a yard out, but he was handed a start in place of Kasper Dolberg.

France will not call up a replacement for Karim Benzema after the Ballon d'Or winner was ruled out of the World Cup with a thigh injury, head coach Didier Deschamps has confirmed.

Deschamps' side are looking to become the first team to retain the trophy since Brazil in 1962, but they have suffered several injury blows ahead of the tournament in Qatar.

Having already seen midfielders Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante ruled out, France lost Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku after naming their 26-man squad for the competition, but the most severe blow was still to come as Benzema was forced to leave their camp after failing to complete Saturday's training session. 

With Benzema facing three weeks on the sidelines, reports suggested France would decide whether to call up another attacker on Sunday, but Deschamps is content with his existing options. 

"It's obviously a big blow. Karim had done everything, so had we. He was in the session and with an almost innocuous gesture, he felt muscle pain on the other leg," Deschamps told Telefoot.

"The exams unfortunately confirmed too much damage compared to the deadlines that await us. 

"Will he be replaced? No. We have seven to eight attacking players."

Alongside 2018 World Cup winners Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele, France can call upon Kingsley Coman, Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram as attacking options.

Benzema has endured a frustrating season, missing several of Real Madrid's games after sustaining a knee injury in September before being plagued by muscle fatigue in the build-up to the World Cup.

Deschamps insists France's medical staff should not shoulder the blame for his latest injury, adding: "I know that you are looking for controversy, but everything has been done [for Benzema to be fit].

"It happened in the game, not even on an acceleration or a strike. It can happen, it's never the right time, it's not a relapse. 

"He has a concern on the other side, which prevents him from staying with us. It's never fun, it doesn't make you smile. 

"We had already lost Christopher, but we have a goal, the group knows very well what awaits us. We have a quality group. I am convinced of it, I have confidence in them."

Deschamps offered a more positive update on the fitness of Raphael Varane, saying the Manchester United defender "will be available" for Tuesday's Group D opener against Australia.

Varane had been a doubt for the tournament after suffering a leg injury in the Red Devils' Premier League draw with Chelsea last month, but he completed his first collective training session since meeting up with Les Bleus on Saturday. 

Youssouf Fofana says he "will do everything" possible to earn a place in France's starting line-up at the World Cup in Qatar.

Fofana only made his France debut against Austria in September, but his impressive form in Ligue 1 for Monaco was enough to earn him a spot in Didier Deschamps' 26-man squad for the tournament.

Injuries to fellow midfielders Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante mean he may even start for the reigning world champions, potentially alongside former team-mate Aurelien Tchouameni.

The 22-year-old says he will do all he can to receive a place among France's starters for their opening match against Australia on Tuesday.

"As a newcomer [to the squad], we come to discover this great competition," Fofana told reporters. "Whether you are 23 or 30, the first World Cup is always important.

"As a competitor, I will do everything to earn my place in the 11, like the 26, but always with respect for my teammates."

Fofana's late charge into the squad may induce questions of whether he is up to the required standard to play at a World Cup for France, but the 22-year-old feels his performances speak for themselves.

"As I said, it's on the field that speaks," Fofana added. "The coach validated me. After the first game [debut against Austria], everyone validated me too!

"I no longer have time to tell myself whether I am happy or proud. The competition starts in two days.

"Two major players are absent [Pogba and Kante], but they also started in the France team one day. There is a beginning for everything."

France received a boost on Saturday as Raphael Varane returned to full training on Saturday.

After their match with Australia, Deschamps' men will take on Denmark and Tunisia in Group D as they look to retain their World Cup crown.

Raphael Varane says Manchester United's players have "obviously" been impacted by news of Cristiano Ronaldo's explosive interview.

Speaking to Piers Morgan Uncensored, Ronaldo remarked he felt "betrayed" by senior figures at United and declared he did not respect manager Erik ten Hag, casting serious doubt over his future at Old Trafford.

Clips of the bombshell interview dropped on Sunday following United's 2-1 Premier League victory over Fulham, which Ronaldo missed after informing the club he was unwell.

That was the Red Devils' final match before the World Cup break, though Varane says his team-mates have still been impacted by events concerning Ronaldo.

"Obviously it affects us," Varane told Europe1. "We follow what is happening and what is being said.

"We try to calm the situation in our own way and we try not to get too involved in it. What is happening in the media - in the big clubs things [like this] gain momentum.

"When it's a star like Ronaldo, even more, so we try to take it with distance, that is to say that we do not try to change the situation alone because we are part of a collective."

United released a statement on Monday explaining they would only assess what action to take "after the full facts are established", but with the full interview due to be released on Wednesday, that decision is expected soon.

Varane, who also played with Ronaldo at Real Madrid, declared he would accept whatever decision the club made, adding: "What I want is the best for my team.

"So whatever the decision, as players, we'll accept it and give the best of ourselves."

Karim Benzema will do everything he can to be 100 per cent fit for the World Cup after making France's squad for the tournament amid an injury-hit season, says Didier Deschamps.

Benzema won his first Ballon d'Or after leading Real Madrid to glory in LaLiga and the Champions League by scoring 44 goals last term, but has endured a frustrating 2022-23 campaign to date.

The striker has started just 11 games in all competitions this season, hitting the net six times, and Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said the 34-year-old was "struggling" on Sunday after he suffered from muscular fatigue in his left quadriceps. 

However, Benzema will join the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud among France's attacking options in Qatar, and Deschamps hopes he will be in peak condition.

"Benzema has had a few minor injuries, but he knows that the World Cup is a very important moment," Deschamps said after revealing his 25-man squad on Wednesday. 

"He will do everything, like the whole group, to be 100 per cent."

Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has also been included despite sustaining a leg injury in the Red Devils' Premier League draw at Chelsea last month, and Deschamps is optimistic regarding his chances of facing Australia in the team's Group D opener on November 22. 

"Presnel [Kimpembe] had a little problem but he will be available for the last league game on Sunday," Deschamps said.

"For Varane, it's a longer injury, but he will be available for the first game against Australia on the 22nd, if all goes well."

The World Cup holders will head to Qatar with a depleted set of midfield options after Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante were ruled out, while left-backs Ferland Mendy and Lucas Digne, as well as Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan – who suffered a calf injury in September – are among the other notable absentees.

France will be captained by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in Qatar, whose inclusion in a fourth World Cup squad sees him equal the national record set by Thierry Henry (in the 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 tournaments).

France World Cup squad: Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Rennes); Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Theo Hernandez (Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United); Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid), Jordan Veretout (Marseille); Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Milan), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig).

Didier Deschamps wants Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba to prove they can contribute at Qatar 2022 after announcing he will not be taking any injured players to the World Cup.

The France boss said everyone who travels to the finals, where Les Bleus will be defending the title they won in Russia, must be able to contribute immediately.

Manchester United centre-back Varane is not expected to play any club football until the Qatar 2022 finals get under way, after suffering a leg injury, while Pogba is back in training with Juventus after knee surgery but will not be rushed back to action.

"It's absolutely clear," Deschamps said in an interview with French website Brut. "I've never embarked on a big competition with an injured player, even if there are some who can come up with examples from 2018 with our full-backs who were Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe.

"They were healed. After that, it's about athletic condition. And between the time I made the list and what should have happened, that didn't happen… there you go.

"But leaving for a big competition with players who are not ready, already it occupies too much attention, and for those who have to play, it also monopolises the medical staff. I consider that we must leave with valid and capable players."

Pogba is still waiting to make an impact on the pitch in his second spell at Juventus, having rejoined the Serie A giants from Manchester United.

There is a strong will from Deschamps for the midfielder to be on the plane to Qatar, and Pogba may well return to club action in the coming weeks.

The coach has plenty of sympathy for the 29-year-old who has had a tough time away from football lately.

An investigation was opened in August into allegations Pogba was the target of an extortion plot by his brother Mathias and childhood friends demanding a €13million sum.

Mathias Pogba and four others were charged in relation to the matter and Deschamps regards Paul Pogba as "a victim".

"That it's been a very difficult moment for him, yes," Deschamps said.

"I talk to him regularly. He's someone who has a big mentality. Obviously, relating to his injury, it's not easy to manage. But psychologically, he's fine."

Raphael Varane has hailed Ousmane Dembele's "extraordinary qualities" and believes the 25-year-old is finally "blossoming" at Barcelona.

Dembele has been a player reborn since Xavi took charge in November 2021, with his 17 assists in all competitions bettered only by Lionel Messi (22) and Kevin De Bruyne (21) among players in Europe's top five leagues, while his 15 LaLiga assists during that time represent a league high.

The former Borussia Dortmund man also leads Barca's charts for chances created (63), chances created from open play (52) and touches in the opposing box (126) under Xavi in LaLiga.

Dembele signed a new two-year deal with Barca in July, and Varane thinks the best is still to come from his compatriot.

"I'm very happy to see him at this level," he said. "We see him blossoming. He has extraordinary qualities.

"As a person, I always find him with the same joy of living, he brings this freshness to the group.

"He is also more calm, always quiet. He has managed to find the recipe for physical recovery, to feel better, and we are very happy.

"He had some difficult moments with some injuries that followed one another, but now we have the chance to see him having fun and enjoying himself on the field, so we are all very happy."

 

Varane also praised the impact of France team-mate Aurelien Tchouameni at his former club Real Madrid.

Tchouameni, who joined from Monaco in June for a fee that could rise to €100million, has started the season in impressive form for Carlo Ancelotti's side, and Varane believes he has the maturity to keep on getting better.

"I think we can welcome his lightning adaptation in a club like Real Madrid," the Manchester United defender said.

"I know from experience how difficult it is. He has the maturity and the qualities for it, so hats off to him. He is a very complete player. He has the ability to defend well, protect the defence, and also the ability to organise the game.

"He does not hesitate from his first selections to ask for the ball, to impose the tempo in midfield. For his young age, he is already very mature, and I wish him to stay the course, to continue like this, because what he is doing is already extraordinary."

Didier Deschamps has handed Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konate his first call-up to the France senior squad as a replacement for Raphael Varane.

Manchester United defender Varane sustained a hamstring injury during Les Bleus' 2-1 Nations League defeat to Denmark on Friday, and has had to withdraw from the squad ahead of the next three games.

Kylian Mbappe was also forced off with a knee problem at half-time in the game at the Stade de France, with assistant coach Guy Stephan saying the Paris Saint-Germain star would be assessed.

Konate has had an impressive first season at Liverpool after joining the Premier League side from RB Leipzig last year.

The 23-year-old made 29 appearances in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp's side in 2021-22, scoring three goals and helping to keep 10 clean sheets.

Konate also started the Champions League final against Real Madrid, which Liverpool lost 1-0, and that was the first game in which Konate had played that the Reds were defeated.

France play away to Croatia on Monday, before further games away to Austria and then the return game against Croatia.

Raphael Varane will feel "great pride" in captaining France when they face South Africa on Tuesday in Les Bleus' final game of the March international break.

The Manchester United defender has been handed the armband for the friendly clash at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, the 28-year-old's hometown, with regular skipper Hugo Lloris sitting the game out.

Didier Deschamps' side are looking to continue their preparations for the Qatar 2022 World Cup at the end of the year, as they eye a successful defence of their 2018 crown.

With regular captain Lloris set to be benched in favour of Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, Varane said it would be an honour to lead out his country in his home city.

"It is a great pride," he said. "I grew up not far from here. I was born in Lille, I grew up between Lille and Lens. 

"Of course, it's a bit special."

Varane also commented upon the selection of Maignan, who has kept 11 Serie A clean sheets in an impressive debut campaign with the Rossoneri, praising the 26-year-old's leadership and character.

"He brings great explosiveness," Varane said of Maignan. "He has a great kicking game, he brings his character, he is a leader at heart.

"He keeps progressing and continues to evolve. He has a lot of talent."

The former Real Madrid defender spoke in glowing terms about Clauss' qualities, saying that his inclusion in the squad brought "a lot of joy".

"He brings a lot of freshness," Varane added. "I did my best to welcome him, to put him at ease.

"He is living an exceptional moment, and it brings a lot of joy.

"If he is there [in the France squad], he has the qualities. The desire is there, [and] he has some very interesting qualities."

Deschamps' side will be looking to maintain their excellent attacking form when they host South Africa, having scored in each of their last 19 games, the longest such run in the history of the national team.

Raphael Varane learned a lot from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and has compared the recently departed Manchester United boss to ex-Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane.

France international Varane joined United from Madrid in August and spent three months working under Solskjaer before the Norwegian was dismissed by the Red Devils two weeks ago.

Solskjaer left Old Trafford having failed to win any silverware in his three years at the helm, which is in stark contrast to the 11 trophies lifted by Zidane across two spells as Madrid boss, with Varane a key player under his compatriot.

Despite appearing just nine times for new club United prior to Solskjaer's exit in what has been an injury-plagued start to his Old Trafford tenure, Varane was impressed by Solskjaer's coaching ability.

"I spoke with him before signing. He's a very good person and humble with important values and in the short time here he taught me a lot of things, values and a lot of things about the club, the mentality of the club," Varane told The Times.

"He represents a lot of things of this club: very respectful, humble. He always tried to do his best. Sometimes when you speak about something sensitive, it's like a bit negative because it's like a weakness. But it's not true. It's a strength.

"When he speaks with a player, he's honest. It's important for a manager to be honest with his players and especially this point it's similar with Zidane. Maybe that's why I like this feeling. It was a short time working with him but I learn a lot."

Varane won three LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns among an array of other trophies during a decade-long spell at Madrid that saw him rack up over 350 appearances in the Spanish capital.

However, the 28-year-old says he and his Madrid colleagues could not always celebrate their triumphs as winning titles is what was expected of them, something that played a part in his decision to leave the club.

"After winning the Champions League, the fans don't congratulate you," he told The Telegraph. "It was 'OK, the next one' after the first one I won.

"Four Champions Leagues! And they tell me, 'OK, go to the next one'. I just want to say sometimes you have to enjoy what you have. It was good!"

Varane added: "Sometimes I wanted to push the pause button, find some time to celebrate. That's why Madrid are special. It's because of this special mentality too.

"It's different. That's why I wanted to change, not because I don't like this mentality or because it's bad. It's very good, but I just wanted to try something different."

Raphael Varane called on France to rediscover their World Cup-winning form as they prepare to face Belgium in the Nations League semi-final.

Varane won the World Cup in 2018 with Les Bleus but was also part of the disappointment of Euro 2020, which saw France eliminated at the last-16 stage by Switzerland.

France's form in 2021 includes a run of five consecutive draws across all competitions, the first time Les Bleus have gone on such a streak, up until the 2-0 win over Finland in their last outing.

Didier Deschamps' side have however remained unbeaten in their first six matches of World Cup 2022 qualification – the first time they have achieved the feat in qualifying matches for a major tournament since 2006.

And Varane implored his country to use the triumph over Finland as a confidence booster for the upcoming Nations League clash, with the winner facing either Spain or Italy in the final.

"We finished the last game very well," Manchester United centre-back Varane told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"We needed it to revive a dynamic, to regain that confidence. When we chained draws together, there could have been less confidence, but these are the hazards of high-level football.

"We must build on this to continue to maintain this positive dynamic and gain new momentum, with greater success.

"There are all the qualities in this group. It's up to us to succeed in triggering this confidence and success which has enabled us to be world champions.

"We know that it takes this energy, this little madness sometimes in the game to create it."

Varane is joined in the France camp by the Hernandez brothers, Lucas and Theo, who could feature in defence together against Belgium.

The pair, who appeared at the news conference in tandem, assured that whoever starts will give their all to ensure that their team are in the final on Sunday.

"We are brothers but on the field, we are partners," Lucas Hernandez said.

"The most important thing is that everyone wants to win. These are special moments.

"When the matches start, we don't know who will start, but we will be united, we will give each other advice. We're all going to pull in the same direction."

Theo Hernandez echoed his brother's sentiments, adding: "We will help each other. It doesn't matter if it's me or Lucas playing. The other will be there to help him at all times."

Bruno Fernandes expressed his delight in working with a proven winner in Raphael Varane as Manchester United look to challenge for trophies this term.

Varane completed a move to United in a deal worth a reported £42.7million (€50m) in August, following a decade at Real Madrid.

The France international boasts a World Cup medal from 2018, along with three LaLiga titles and four Champions League triumphs to his name from his time in the Spanish capital.

Since his debut against Wolves at the end of August, no player has played more Premier League minutes for the Red Devils than Varane (360) and Fernandes hailed the impact the centre-back could have on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

"Of course, he’s a winner," Fernandes told United Review. "Everyone knows that. He’s a nice guy and works really hard and is always pushing everyone to do better.

"I think he has a great mentality but, at the same time, we cannot forget the other players. Rapha [Varane] has been brilliant, but Victor [Lindelof] has had an amazing, brilliant beginning to the season.

"Eric [Bailly] comes later because of the Olympic Games, but he’s a player we trust a lot. 'H' [Harry Maguire] we already know is doing really well."

 

Indeed, Varane led from the front for Madrid last term as well in the absence of Sergio Ramos.

United's new acquisition ranked second for Los Blancos among defenders for duels won (110) and interceptions (36) in LaLiga, while recording 73 aerial successes – more than double the tally of any of his defensive colleagues.

And Fernandes is looking forward for the leadership aspects Varane will bring to United, who currently sit fourth in the top flight after losing to Aston Villa last Saturday.

"Rapha is really important for us, and has been really important for us," he continued. "But the main point is everyone being okay to do the best that they can.

"In football, we all have different qualities, and Rapha has different qualities to Victor, H, Eric and Phil [Jones], but they can all add different things.

"Still he [Varane] is a little bit shy in some ways, because it’s the beginning for him at United, but I think he’s a leader. I think he can help in that part of the game."

Raphael Varane believes he is fulfilling his destiny after moving to Manchester United from Real Madrid.

The centre-back won three LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns in Spain's capital, while triumphing at the 2018 World Cup with France.

Varane, who joined Madrid in 2011 from Lens, completed a move to United in a deal worth a reported £42.7million (€50m) in August.

However, in an interview with Sky Sports, the France international revealed he almost arrived at Old Trafford 10 years prior as former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson travelled to his Lille home to tout the then 18-year-old's services.

"It was a special moment for me and my family," Varane said. "It's amazing to meet a person like him [Alex Ferguson] at 18.

"You know, after that, it's your destiny. Ten years in Madrid and now I'm here.

"This is a new challenge for me. A different competition, a different mentality, a different atmosphere. It's all new for me but I've enjoyed every day so far.

"It's a big challenge to get Manchester United back to the top but I feel people want to win, people want to do great things with this club, and that's a big motivation for me."

 

In the absence of Sergio Ramos last term, Varane shone for Los Blancos, who he ranked second among defenders for both duels won (110) and interceptions (36) in LaLiga.

United's defensive acquisition dominated aerially as well, winning 73 aerial duels – more than double the tallies of his defensive colleagues.

But despite his success at Madrid, he remained on the undercard as he was surrounded by big names such as Cristiano Ronaldo, who he has reunited with in Manchester.

"I don't play football for this focus [the headlines]," Varane continued. "I just want to help the team and do my best.

"I want to improve and be who I am on the pitch. That's my objective and my mentality.

"Playing with this type of player [Cristiano Ronaldo], you improve every day. If he is still playing to such a high level at his age, it's because his work is amazing. I'm very happy to play with him.

"I think he is the best example in the world in terms of work ethic and winning mentality."

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