AS Roma fans know exactly what to expect from manager Jose Mourinho given his often regular rants at match day officials, and he is also not that shy about giving his opinions on players and basically anything football related, so it was no surprise when he was back in the news this week – and the topic was centre half Raphael Varane, and the self styled Special One’s admiration for him as a professional player.
The 60 year old knows the serial winning player very well as he made his breakthrough whilst under the charge of the current Roma gaffer, but Mourinho believes that the 30 year old is the one who has been the most successful in the game, and in fairness, the former Real Madrid manager was not lacking potential options to pick from as he spoke to Sky Italia.
There have been many notable names in the game that came through under Mourinho and turned themselves into household names, and just to rattle a few off, we have Arjen Robben, Fabio Carvalho or John Obi Mikel from his time at Chelsea. Then we have Nacho or Alvaro Morata from his spell at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Varane’s trophy haul stands out for itself though, and he was a mere teenager when he swapped Lens for Los Blancos over a decade ago, and since then he has pretty much won everything there is to win in European and world football.
“Varane has done everything. He won three Champions Leagues, he was world champion with France, captain until he stopped playing (international level). He’s the one who reached the highest of all (former youngsters).”
Surprisingly, despite his clear pedigree in the game, recent injuries have seen him drop down Erik ten Hag’s pecking order in defence, particularly given the resurgence that England international Harry Maguire is currently having. However, given ten Hag’s reliance on Varane previously, most would imagine that it will not be too long at all before he works his way back into his first team plans, and all the discussions surrounding his future will quickly come to an end.
Until then, he will undoubtedly continue to be linked with potential moves to the German Bundesliga, Serie A itself and as the newbies on the scene, Saudi Arabia. There is even some talk that his career could come full circle and he could end his playing days back at Lens, but that would be unlikely unless he was to agree to a significant pay cut.