Raphaël Varane

'Great experience to play with Ronaldo' - Man Utd defender Varane delighted to be reunited at Old Trafford

9:24 AM GMT 27/02/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Raphael Varane 2021-22
The France international won trophies with the Portuguese at Real Madrid and they are playing together again in England

Raphael Varane says it's been a "great experience" for him to play with Cristiano Ronaldo again at Manchester United, where he is now feeling more settled after a "few setbacks at the start of the season".

United invested £40 million ($54m) in Varane's talents last August as the defender decided to take on a new challenge away from Spain after 10 years of great success with Real Madrid.

Much of his time at the Santiago Bernabeu was spent alongside Ronaldo, and the pair reunited at Old Trafford when the five-time Ballon d'Or winner sealed his return to Manchester on the final day of the summer transfer window.

What's been said?

Varane and Ronaldo won multiple La Liga and Champions League crowns together at Madrid, and the former says they continue to enjoy a strong relationship in English football.

The Frenchman is able to turn to his team-mate for frank discussions on both a personal and professional level, as he told Canal Plus: "We have a very good relationship, it's someone who likes to share, who likes to talk about everything he knows in terms of football, in terms of physical and mental preparation. 

"We don't hesitate to talk about everything that surrounds the life of a professional footballer. It's a great experience to play with him. 

"His competitive, winning mentality is a plus for the team."

Varane on adapting to life at United

Varane has endured a slow start to his Red Devils career amid struggles with niggling injuries, starting just 14 Premier League games to date.

However, the 28-year-old has built up some momentum in recent weeks and is now feeling more at home at Old Trafford.

"I feel good, I feel better and better, it's true that I have been able to have a bit of continuity in training and matches over the last few weeks," said Varane.

"I had a few setbacks at the start of the season but now things are going better. I feel more and more at ease, I also speak a little more English and then I know my teammates better. 

"We are approaching the decisive period of the season and we are all ready to face the challenges that await us."

The ex-Madrid star added on the differences between the Premier League and La Liga: “The biggest difference, we will say, is the intensity of the matches. It's true that in the Premier League, in every match there is a lot of opposing pressure, there are a lot of counter-attacks, I have a lot more duels, there are more actions per match. 

"In Spain it's a little more calm, we prepare more actions. The workouts are also different, there is a lot of rhythm too. 

"For me it's a challenge to rediscover yourself, to renew yourself each time and it's good not to stay in your comfort zone and to precisely seek out what you can do best."

Varane was speaking before United's 0-0 draw against Watford on Saturday, which dented their top-four hopes, but he is confident that the squad is heading in the right direction.

“I think the potential of this team we all see," he said. "We can aim high with the quality that there is in this group. Now at the end of the season we will focus on fourth place. 

"That's the goal, to qualify for the Champions League. This season has been quite hectic, quite complicated and so we are really focusing on this objective."

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