Raphael Varane has reflected on how Jose Mourinho ‘kept his word’ over promising that the defender would develop and play at Real Madrid.
The centre-back signed for Los Blancos in 2011 at the age of 18 and by the end of his second season under Mourinho was a regular in the first team.
“Mourinho told me that I was going to have minutes playing with the team, that I would be able to calibrate myself better and get to know myself better,” Varane has reflected this week to Europa Press.
“I had never been faced with strong pressure, either inside or outside of the field and he said that I was going to have the opportunity to learn quickly how to react to that.
“Mourinho kept his promise. During the two years I played for him, he always respected his word, and always knew the right moment when to push me.
“Why did I join Madrid? The first thought I had was that it would not help and that I would not play. Then to hear the project of the Coach, that changed my opinion.
“I did not embark on this project blindly. It was Jose Mourinho who convinced me. He told me I was going to progress, that I would have experience at the highest level, and that this could only be good for me.”
Zinedine Zidane is also thought to have had a guiding role in Varane’s integration at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“Zinedine Zidane, among other things, advised me to speak to the others, to exchange ideas, to talk to them.
“He said it was up to me to take the plunge, and he helped me force my rather reserved nature so as to integrate well.
“Someone who has given me much advice is Pepe. Above all, I was taught never to hold back. He is a player that always gives 100 per cent on the field and I have tried to instil that culture and hunger to win.
“Anyway, I think I still have progress to make, and that I can improve in many aspects. I’m into my third season at Real Madrid, with the all the experience that that brings.
“I know the demands of playing at the highest level, I know the need for flawless concentration, to be strong in the tackle and quick and precise in my passing.
“I’m trying to strengthen my qualities and slowly improve my defects.”