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'Not something I'm happy about' - Didier Deschamps sends message to Man United's Raphael Varane

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 21/03/2023 Dan Brown
Raphael Varane and Didier Deschamps at the World Cup in Qatar © 2022 Stefan Matzke - sampics Raphael Varane and Didier Deschamps at the World Cup in Qatar

France manager Didier Deschamps has revealed his disappointment at Raphael Varane's retirement from international football, with the Manchester United defender instead opting to focus on club football.

Varane called time on his international career in February, with his decision coming as a shock to many people, especially as he was expected to be named France's new captain after Hugo Lloris retired. The 29-year-old has made 27 appearances for United this term - impressing alongside Lisandro Martinez.

The defender, who made 93 appearances for his country, played in six of France's seven matches at the recent World Cup in Qatar, but he opted to retire from international football after the tournament. Deschamps was asked about the retirement of his vice-captain ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign getting underway this week.

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"I try to put myself in his [Varane] shoes," Deschamps said, as per RMC Sport. "He is sufficiently thoughtful, composed, and he does not make a decision like that overnight. It is not something I'm happy about, but it's everyone's situation that you can make a decision like that. I respect it.

"There are demands in very high-level football and it all depends on the age at which you start. The demands lead to fatigue, physical or psychological. Each player has a path that can be different, some continue until they are 40, for others it can be more complicated."

Varane, who only turns 30 next month, played every minute at the 2018 World Cup as Les Bleus went on to win the tournament. He also won the Nations League with his country in 2021, as Deschamps' men overcame Spain 2-1 in the final.

Explain his reasoning behind his decision to retire from international football, Varane, speaking to Canal+, said: "I gave everything, physically and mentally. But the very highest level is like a washing machine, you play all the time and you never stop.

"We have overloaded schedules and play non-stop. Right now, I feel like I'm suffocating and that [Varane] the player is gobbling up [Varane] the man."

Meanwhile, Deschamps claimed he will make a decision on the captaincy in the coming days, but Paris Saint-Germain talisman Kylian Mbappe is expected to take the armband.

France face the Netherlands in the their first Euro 2024 qualifier on Friday, before clashing with the Republic of Ireland on March 27.



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