Raphael Varane opens up on France retirement as Man Utd defender predicts ‘shorter careers’ amid condensed football schedule
- Varane announced international retirement in February
- United star won 93 caps
- Had previously slammed 'suffocating' schedule
WHAT HAPPENED? Varane announced his retirement from international football in February, aged just 29, citing a "suffocating" schedule. The current international break is the first one since the World Cup – and Varane's first chance to catch his breath, given United's relentless fixture list this season.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "The calendar is already more than full, the players are overworked and it will get even worse," Varane told the French edition of GQ magazine. "I'm afraid that we will witness much shorter careers and that players will have to give up the France team very early because, physically or mentally, what we are asking for today is simply beyond limits. The fact that I announced the end of my international career and not having hidden the reasons, that resonated with many players.
"Believe me, all the international players who play in Europe and never stop go through periods of poor form lasting several months, or they get injured. The young players who start in the France team there, those who have played in the World Cup, are going to have to make a lot of sacrifices if they want to stay on top for ten years. And it might be harder than what I've experienced."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Varane won 93 caps for his country, winning the World Cup in 2018, and is the 13th top appearance maker in France's history. He's not alone in criticising the schedule, with Belgium and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois claiming players were treated like "robots" in a recent interview.
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WHAT NEXT FOR VARANE & UNITED? Varane will be able to rest for the next week or so – until United's Premier League clash with Newcastle on April 2.