Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane has turned down a potential move to Manchester United to reunite with his former manager Jose Mourinho, reports Marca.
Varane has somewhat struggled to find playing time regularly at Real Madrid, as Zinedine Zidane still prefers the veteran pair of Sergio Ramos and Pepe over the 23-year-old.
However, Zidane has always been high praise for his fellow Frenchman, and some latest reports suggest that Varane could move ahead of Pepe this coming season.
But Pepe was also in the best form of his life during Portugal’s run to the Euro title, and played as well as any centre back in the tournament. He will surely retain his starting spot, at least to begin the season.
Considering this many belief, Varane could have moved right into the starting XI for United, playing for Mourinho alongside France teammate Paul Pogba. Instead, he opted to continue to develop at Real Madrid, hoping to eventually replace Pepe in near future, who is already 33.
Ironically, it was Zidane’s advice that actually convinced Varane to move to Real Madrid in 2011, when Mourinho was their manager. Now, it’s Zidane who is preventing Mourinho from getting his man.
Varane himself admitted in a recent interview that a phone call from Zinedine Zidane four years ago helped him choose Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid over a move to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Old Trafford.
Mourinho will instead have to settle for new signing Eric Bailly as the future cornerstone of his defence. In fact, Mourinho has compared the two, and said he can improve Bailly just as he did with Varane.