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RAPHAEL VARANE

Raphaël Varane (born 25 April 1993 in Lille) is a French football player who currently plays for Spanish club Real Madrid in La Liga.He primarily plays as a central defender and a defensive midfielder often acting as a sweeper in the latter role. Varane is a France youth international having earned caps at under-18 and under-21 level. Ahead of the 2010–11 season, he began training with the senior team and appeared on the bench in several league matches. On 7 November 2010, he made his professional debut in a league match against Montpellier. Varane has been described by club youth coach Eric Assadourian as a "truly first class player" who is "comfortable on both the tactical and technical level"

Full name Raphaël Varane

Date of birth 25 April 1993 (1993-04-25) (age 18)

Place of birth Lille, France

Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)

Playing position Centre back

Club information

Current club Real Madrid

Youth career

2000–2002 Hellemmes

2002–2010 Lens

Senior career*

Years Team Apps† (Gls)†

2010–2011 Lens 23 (2)

2011– Real Madrid 0 (0)

National team‡

2010– France U18 2 (1)

2011– France U21

Club career

Early career

Varane was born in the city of Lille to parents of Martiniquais heritage. His father is originally from Le Morne-Rouge.[4] Varane began his football career in the Arrondissement of Lille playing for local club AS Hellemmes at the age of seven.[5] After spending two years at the club, in July 2002, he joined professional club RC Lens, despite some interest from Derby du Nord rivals and hometown club Lille OSC.[6] Similar to the development of the club's previous prized assets such as Gaël Kakuta and Timothée Kolodziejczak, Varane spent time at the Centre de Préformation de Football in nearby Liévin, a training center exclusively for players brought up in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.[4] He spent two years at the center training there during the weekdays and playing with Lens on the weekends. After returning full-time to Lens, Varane quickly ascended up the club's youth ranks. In the 2008–09 season, alongside teammates Thorgan Hazard and Geoffrey Kondogbia, he played on the club's under-16 team that won the Championnat National des 16 ans. In the following season, Varane was promoted to the club's under-19 team, despite being two years younger than several of his teammates. Ahead of the 2010–11 season, Varane signed his first professional contract.[7] He was, subsequently, promoted to the club's reserve team in the Championnat de France amateur.[8] Varane made his amateur debut in the club's opening league match of the campaign in a 2–0 victory over Drancy.[9] He appeared as a starter in the club's next nine matches with the team losing only one of them.

Lens

In late October of the campaign, Varane was called up to the senior team by manager Jean-Guy Wallemme to train ahead of the club's match against Montpellier on 6 November. He trained with the team for the entire week and, due to an injury to centre back Alaeddine Yahia, Varane was, surprisingly, named to the starting lineup.[10] In the match, he played the full 90 minutes in a 2–0 victory.[2] The victory was only the club's third clean sheet of the season. Varane was praised by teammates, most notably captain Adil Hermach, defending partner Eric Chelle, and striker David Pollet, as well as by the local media and coach Wallemme.[11][12] In the next two matches, Varane, alongside several other youth players, sat on the bench as Lens faced two tough teams in Marseille and Lyon.[13][14] He returned to the starting lineup on 30 November in a 4–1 defeat to Brest.[15] Despite the firing of Wallemme following the Brest match, Varane remained a starter in the team under new manager László Bölöni. In December, with both Chelle and Yahia returning to action, Varane was placed in the defensive midfielder role in the team's match against Bordeaux. In the match, he acted as a roving third centre back and made a blocked save in the 84th minute on a close range shot by Yoan Gouffran to preserve a 2–1 lead.[16] However, in the latter stages of the match, Bordeaux equalize to draw the match at 2–2.[17]

In January 2011, Varane was the subject of transfer speculation with the player being linked to several clubs.[18] In an effort to quell the interest, on 3 February 2011, he signed a two-year contract extension with Lens until 2015.[19][20][21] On 8 May, Varane scored his first professional goal in a 1–1 draw with Caen.[22] In the team's following match against Monaco, he scored the equalizing goal in another 1–1 draw.[23] Despite the goal, the stalemate condemned Lens to relegation back to Ligue 2 after two seasons in the top division.[24] On 21 May, Varane captained Lens in its 1–0 defeat to Arles-Avignon.[25]

Real Madrid

On 22 June 2011, Lens president Gervais Martel confirmed to a group of supporters at a club meeting that Varane will be joining Spanish club Real Madrid stating "He will play for Real Madrid under the guidance of Jose Mourinho".[1][26] Varane had previously visited Real Madrid's club facilities and also met with club advisor and compatriot Zinedine Zidane.[1][27] On 27 June, the move was confirmed by Real Madrid after Varane successfully passed his medical.[28][29] Varane signed a six-year contract with the club and the transfer fee is purported to be in the range of €10 million.[30]

International career

Varane is a France youth international having earned caps at under-18 and under-21 level. Prior to playing for the under-18 team, he was called up to the under-17 team, but did not make an appearance.[6] Varane made his debut with the under-18 team on 24 August 2010 in a friendly match against Denmark. On his debut, he scored the final goal in a 2–0 victory.[31] Varane turned down subsequent call-ups to the under-18 team because of his increased participation with the Lens first team and, as a result, missed the Tournoi de Limoges and a tournament in Israel.[4] On 3 February 2011, he was called up to the under-21 team for the first time for a friendly match against Slovakia.[32] Varane described the call up as "a huge surprise".[33] He earned his first under-21 cap and start in the match against Slovakia playing the entire match in a 3–1 win.[34]

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