Ten Hag in dreamland after Man Utd star’s shock and ‘regrettable’ decision puts Red Devils revolution front and centre

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag Credit: Alamy
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag Credit: Alamy

Raphael Varane has confirmed his shock decision to retire from international football with France aged just 29, with the ‘regrettable’ decision to greatly aid Man Utd and Erik ten Hag.

Varane has been one of world football’s most dominant centre-halves over the last decade. He was a mainstay in many a Real Madrid side that marched to Champions League glory year after year.

In the international arena, Varane racked up 93 caps for France and helped his side lift the World Cup in 2018 along with the UEFA Nations League in 2021.

However, while juggling commitments for both club and country, Varane has spent a worryingly large amount of time on the treatment table since joining Man Utd.

He was limited to just 22 league appearances in his debut season at Old Trafford last term. He missed a further three matches in the current campaign in the Autumn when sidelined with a hamstring issue.

Now, before even reaching his 30th birthday, Varane has confirmed his decision to retire from international football.

The player broke the news himself via his social media channels in a lengthy and heartfelt message to the French nation.

Varane calls time on incredible France career

“Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honours of my life,” Varane wrote.

“Each time I wore this special blue jersey, I felt immense pride. The duty to give everything, to play with my heart and to win every time we entered the field. I have been thinking about it for several months and decided that it was the right time for me to retire from international football.

“As a child, I remember following France ‘98, this team, these players who made us experience indescribable emotions. I dreamed of being our heroes and 20 years later I lived one of the best experiences of my life, the ones that made me really proud. We brought home the cup!

“I will never forget it. I still feel every single one of the emotions felt on that day, July 15, 2018. That was one of the most amazing and memorable moments of my life.

“This victory that we won all together would never have been possible without the support of Didier Deschamps, every member of the management and staff over the years, and my team-mates who have defended our shirt in every game we played.

“But more importantly, this victory would not have been possible without every single one of you supporting us along the way.

“Your fervour, the celebrations and the memories of our return to France will forever be etched in me.

“Even after the defeat in the final last year, you welcomed us as heroes when we returned. To each and every one of you, THANK YOU a thousand times!

“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. Rapha.”

Deschamps shook, but understanding

The decision means the epic 2022 World Cup final between France and Argentina was Varane’s last act for his country.

France boss Didier Deschamps described the decision as “regrettable” upon hearing of the news, though heralded the defender who has been an integral part of the country’s many successes over recent years.

“I had a similar situation,” said Deschamps. “I understand his arguments and respect his decision, even if it may seem regrettable in view of everything that he did in the World Cup, during which, from start to finish, he acted like the leader we know.

“Of course, I can not turn this page without a certain emotion, given our close ties since August 2012. Like Hugo Lloris, he would have been, without injury, in all of my squads.”

Man Utd the ultimate beneficiaries

While they’ll never publicly admit it, the decision will be warmly received over in Manchester.

Varane has quickly formed a fine partnership with Lisandro Martinez this season. Combined with Casemiro shielding the back four, United have become one of the most difficult teams to play through under Erik ten Hag.

That trio will be instrumental in everything United do well in the immediate future. And with Varane now focusing solely on his club career, United are in line to be the biggest beneficiaries.

Varane has averaged 11 appearances per year for France over the last five calendar years. The removal of that burden will greatly lessen his likelihood of getting injured as he prepares to enter his 30s.

Furthermore, the tiresome travel will be removed from his schedule, along with the added bonus of his international breaks now being spent on the training pitch at Carrington.

France’s loss is most certainly Man Utd’s gain.

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The article Ten Hag in dreamland after Man Utd star’s shock and ‘regrettable’ decision puts Red Devils revolution front and centre appeared first on Teamtalk.com.