After Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda, it is another executive of the Blues who is about to leave the France team: at only 29 years old, Raphaël Varane has indeed decided to retire internationally.
The World Cup in Qatar undoubtedly marked the end of an era for the Blues. And not only because of the resignation of Karim Benzema. If Didier Deschamps, a time tempted to quit, finally chose to continue the adventure at the head of the France team, the defeat conceded against Argentina in the final will have been the last match for several executives. As a good captain, Hugo Lloris paved the way, announcing his international retirement in early January. The record holder of selections in the France team was quickly imitated by Steve Mandanda, his most faithful lining. Decisions all awaited.
Recently, Olivier Giroud also admitted to wondering about his future. A logical questioning for the 36-year-old striker. The announcement, by Le Parisien, of the probable international retirement of Raphaël Varane was much less expected. The Manchester United defender is only 29 years old and was expected to collect the captain’s armband. His rant at half-time in the round of 16 against Poland had made an impression. An uncertain time for the Qatari world due to his injury with the Red Devils in mid-October, the former Madrid player had held his rank perfectly despite a complicated start against Denmark.
Physical and psychological wear
The native of Lille was nonetheless able to see that the next generation, symbolized by the Upamecano-Konaté tandem, very prominent during the world championship, was ready. A factor that would have played in his decision. As well as the generational gap he saw during the Qatari adventure. A gap that could be even more significant following the retirement of Hugo Lloris and that, still hypothetical, of Olivier Giroud.
But the main reason for this international retirement lies in the physical and psychological wear and tear felt in recent months. The physical glitches, including the one that almost deprived him of the World Cup, have accumulated in recent months and he knows he has to take care of his knee to stay at the top. The tricolor defender would also have had difficulty living away from his family during the adventure in Qatar and would like to devote more time to his wife and children.
The international retirement of Raphaël Varane is nonetheless a blow for Didier Deschamps, who is on the verge of losing one of his natural leaders. And all the more so because of the doubts surrounding the state of form of Paul Pogba and NGolo Kanté, already absent in Qatar. The Blues will undoubtedly be in need of leaders in the coming months even if Kylian Mbappé showed at half-time against Argentina that he could not only lead the way on the pitch. The Parisian also appears to be the best placed to recover the captain’s armband.