Rafael Varane has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 29. The defender, who plays for Manchester United, is a member of France’s 2018 World Cup winning team. He also played in the Qatar World Cup that ended last December.
France captain Hugo Lloris announced his retirement after the final. After a month and a half, he suddenly announced his retirement from international football on Instagram today.
Varane made his debut in the France national team in 2013. He played a total of 93 matches in his 9-year career. After the 2018 World Cup, they won the UEFA Nations League in 2021.
As he is not yet 30 years old, Varan’s way to make the 2026 World Cup team was open. He could play in next year’s Euro Championship. However, he blocked all the possibilities by announcing on Instagram, ‘Being able to represent our great country for a decade is the best honor of my life. Every time I wore the blue jersey, I felt immense pride. I have thought about this for months. I have decided that this is the right time to say goodbye to international football.
Recalling being inspired by Zinedine Zidane’s World Cup win in 1998, Varane wrote, “As a child, I remember the France ’98 team and the players in that team giving us an indescribable experience.” I dreamed of being like those heroes. After 20 years I had the best experience of my life, which made me really proud. We returned home with the World Cup. I will never forget that time. 15 July 2018—I still feel every little emotion of this day, it is the most memorable moment of my life.’
Varane played another World Cup final for France last year. On 18 December, France lost a tiebreaker to Argentina in the title decider at the iconic Lucille Stadium.
However, Varan thanked the French for giving the runners-up team a hero’s welcome, saying, “We have been given a hero’s welcome after returning home after losing the last final. I thank each and every one of you. I will miss the moments with you. But this is the time to hand over the team to the new generation.