How Zinedine Zidane Convinced Raphael Varane to Ignore Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United for Real Madrid

Published 08/16/2021, 2:34 PM EDT

Manchester United finally signed Raphael Varane after a transfer saga that started over a decade ago. The French world cup winner left the Spanish club Real Madrid after spending almost ten years with them. He won the UEFA Champions League four times during that time and was vital for several of Madrid’s trophy runs.

The Frenchman’s contract had one year remaining on his contract, but United swooped in. Varane became Ole Gunnar’s Solskjaer’s third signing this season.

The manager recalled Sir Alex’s Varane interest recently, telling reporters in July that the French defender is a proven winner that United have followed for many, many years. He also talked about Sir Alex Ferguson’s interest in the defender ever since, “Sir Alex was very, very close to signing him.

Ferguson mentioned his fixation with signing the then 18-year-old Varane in his book, “Leading.”

In 2011, I hurtled down on the train from Euston to Lille to sign the young French defender Raphael Varane,” Ferguson wrote.

David Gill was getting into the finer points of the contract with Lens, Varane’s club when Zinedine Zidane got wind of this and somehow scooped him up for Real Madrid from under our noses. I don’t think Jose Mourinho, who was managing Real Madrid, had even seen Varane play,” he concluded.

Zidane was the catalyst in Varane’s move to Madrid, which turned out to be spectacular for the defender in the end. He eventually got his move to United too. With a world-class center-back like Harry Maguire by his side, Varane can do great things at Manchester United.

Raphael Varane and his role at Manchester United

With the injury-prone Eric Bailly and Swedish international Victor Lindelof partnering Maguire, the United defense was never settled. Bailly and Lindelof were both good players, but neither system particularly worked for Solskjaer.

The additional of Varane will change that because of his natural speed. Varane will cover for any defensive errors and will help United immensely to fight against any counter-attacks. It’ll be interesting to see how this move works out in the future.



Aniket Awasthi

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Aniket Awasthi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. This STEM undergraduate combines an insatiable urge to write with his admiration for MMA and the UFC in general to enhance his journalism. He calls charismatic names like Chael Sonnen and 'The Count' Michael Bisping as his favorite fighters, but he is a great admirer of the rise of Israel Adesanya ever since he fought Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221.