The French defender shocked the football world as he announced his retirement from international duty aged 29.
France defender Raphael Varane has spoken candidly about his decision to retire from international duty, admitting that he was struggling to cope with football’s “overloaded schedule” in an interview with Canal+.
“I gave everything, physically and mentally,” the centre-back told the French outlet.
“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,” the Manchester United star added.
Varane, who has won 93 caps with the Parisians, has faced backlash for his retirement by Les Blues head coach Didier Deschamps and French legend Jerome Rothen.
“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,” Deschamps told L’Equipe.
“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,” the French coach added.
France’s former international Jerome Rothen had a different perspective, calling the judgment a “disaster.”
“I think that at this age and when you play in a club that allows you to be at a very high level, you have a duty. It’s to bring your talent to your country. He’s a disaster. He has a long history, congratulations!,” Rothen told the Spanish outlet AS.
France has had a year of unexpected news as Karim Benzema announced his retirement days after his country’s exit from the World Cup final.
“I made the effort and the mistakes it took to be where I am today, and I’m proud of it! I have written my story, and ours is ending,” Benzema wrote on his social media channels amid a feud with head coach Deschamps.
Alongside Benzema was Hugo Lloris, who publicised his retirement after losing to Argentina in the World Cup.
Captaining the squad in a record of 121 appearances, Lloris’s decision was made after 14 years.
“I have really been thinking about it since the end of the World Cup, but there has been something deep inside of me for maybe six months now and which grew during the competition, leading me to make this decision,” he said.
“There comes a time when you need to step aside. I have always said the French national team does not belong to any one person,” added Lloris.