Raphaël Varane is the front cover star of November's GQ magazine. The French central defender reflected on his seven seasons at Real Madrid, spoke about the atmosphere among the squad and looked ahead to next year's World Cup finals in Russia.
Joining Real Madrid in 2011: “When I first arrived at Real Madrid, my main aim was just to improve as a player, and continue with my development as a footballer and as a person. I have never set myself limits, I love challenges. I enjoy pushing myself to give my best when things get difficult, when you have to leave your comfort zone”.
Difficulties at the start: “When I first arrived in Madrid, I didn't speak a word of Spanish and only a little English”.
Zidane transmits calm, he's a winner
Zidane: “When he speaks, everyone listens, all of the players are keen to learn from him because if he was a winner as a player, and now as a coach, it must be for something. He encourages me to take more risks. He maximizes the qualities I have. Does he ever lose it and shout at us? Yes, sometimes, but only when it's necessary. But overall, for his character and way of being, he transmits calm, serenity with his understated strength”.
Personal drop in form: “There was a time in my career when I realized that I wasn't playing well because I was thinking too much. So I told myself: ‘That's enough overthinking about everything’. Now I have found a balance between thinking and being focused and being well positioned and ready to react on the pitch”.
Great camaraderie at Real Madrid
Mood within the squad: “The atmosphere among the players at Madrid is very, very good. There's a healthy competition for places in the side, we all help each other and we know that we only win anything it's because we are all as one, united. We give everything to each other and if anyone needs a hand, we help out between us. The relationship between us is perfect”.
2018 World Cup Russia: “We are still a young team but we have players at some of the top teams in Europe. France now has experience at the top level. We are a young team with a lot of talent and we know that we have quality so anything's possible.”