REAL MADRID

Varane red adds to Zidane's defensive headache

The France international was sent off for the first time in his career against Athletic. Ramos and Carvajal are one caution away from derby ban.

Varane red adds to Zidane's defensive headache
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno Getty Images

Raphael Varane was sent off in the Bernabéu on Saturday after two bookable offences and will miss next weekend’s trip to Málaga. The France international first went into the book for a tussle with Aritz Aduriz in the first half and was cautioned again in the second after jumping with a leading elbow into the Athletic striker in the second.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane questioned the decision after the match: “I don’t think it was fair. I haven’t seen a replay but he told me it was just a normal jump and that it shouldn’t have been a yellow.”

I always try to play fairly. I don’t go out to hurt anyone. Neither of the challenges deserved a yellow card. I respect the referee but it wasn’t a fair decision. I jumped to win the ball over the opposition player and didn’t intend to hit him with my arms,” Varane said in a post-match interview.

The sending off was Varane’s first early bath in his career, spanning Lens, Real Madrid and the France national team. Until Saturday, Varane had only been booked 12 times in 163 professional matches.

Varane’s absence in Málaga will be an extra headache for Zidane, whose side have not been performing as well on the road as at home and face Javi Gracia’s much-improved side, who gave Barcelona a good game in La Rosaleda. Before then, Real have the all-important Champions League first leg clash against Roma at the Olympic Stadium to play. Further ahead, Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal are one booking in La Rosaleda away from missing the derby against Atlético and Pepe remains sidelined with a foot problem.