Raphael Varane: "I have grown as football player"

Varane celebrates his first goal for Real Madrid
Raphael Varane looks happy with Real Madrid

When you received a call from Zidane just over three months to play for Madrid, did you imagine that in such a short time you were going to play Champions League matches?
I have only 18 years and I did not think I would play such important games as a starter for a team like Madrid. But it's done. After two league games, have debuted in the Champions League and I can only cross my fingers to all goes down this path. And work hard, of course.

Having played the last three games as a starter, do you feel has made progress in your play?
Absolutely. I notice it. Training with coaching staff at this level and with players of that caliber allows me to learn many things. Having so many minutes at this time has made me to improve as central defender. In three games I have grown as a player.

You have also been able to discover what is the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in La Liga and Champions. Is it a big change respect your former club Lens?
Yes, the truth is that it has nothing to do. Felix Bollaert stadium is smaller, but the fans make more noise. It's a different environment. At the Bernabeu you note a different kind of pressure that is special.

What Jose Mourinho asked you before each of these three games you have played?
The coach told me I had to be very focused, avoid any dismissal. As I am young and lack experience, Mourinho wants, above all, no mistakes of inattention. I have to be really into the game from the opening whistle until the end. The central defender position needs very forcefully and we must be ready to intervene immediately.

Take a few months in Madrid, but you look happy in the team. Many people helped you to get a good start in this locker room ...
Actually, all peers have received me very well. Everyone feels great with me. The coach and Karim (Benzema), of course, but also Lass, who left France and went to play for Chelsea when he was still very young and has advised me about this new life. In regard to the field, I have the good fortune of being surrounded by very experienced players who are very attentive to me and help me constantly.

You are a regular in the Under-21 France team. Have you thought about playing with the senior team? Can you imagine to play the European Championship in June next year?
At the moment I do not think of anything. I just concentrate on what I'm doing at Real Madrid. I have the opportunity to play games as a starter and I focus on this. If Laurent Blanc calls me, I will be super happy, but now that is not an obsession for me. My number one target is to be efficient in the field and develop my style of play. If I am called up to the French national team, will be the result from what I do at Real Madrid.

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