Varane started his international career almost 10 years ago, on March 22, 2013 in a victory for France against Georgia in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. He was still a teenager at the time, but had established himself as a regular starter for Real Madrid.
He swiftly established himself as a regular starter for Les Bleus but suffered a thigh injury that ruled him out of the 2016 European Championships. That ensured he was not part of the host nation’s run to the final, when they were eventually edged out by Portugal.
Varane would play every minute of the World Cup two years later, playing in all seven matches for Deschamps’s side. He scored the opening goal with a header in the quarter final victory over Uruguay, alongside playing a key role in a defensive partnership with Samuel Umtiti.
Varane became only the fourth player to be a World Cup champion and Champions League winner in the same year, after Christian Karembeu (in 1998), Roberto Carlos (in 2002), and Sami Khedira (in 2014). Remarkably, all four players, including Varane, were playing for Real Madrid at the time they won the World Cup.
The defender played every minute of France’s four matches at Euro 2020, staged in 2021, but the side fell short as they were eliminated by Switzerland at the Round of 16 stage. Varane did not take a penalty in his side’s shootout loss.
“Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honours of my life. 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.
“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 World 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 teammates who defended our shirt at each of our matches.
“I will miss these moments with you for sure, but the time has come for the new generation to take over. We have a bunch 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. Raph.”
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