REAL MADRID

Official: Real Madrid defender Varane signs for Manchester United

Real Madrid and Manchester United have agreed a deal for Raphaël Varane to move to Old Trafford after 11 seasons with the LaLiga giants.

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Manchester United have completed a deal to take France international Raphaël Varane to Old Trafford from Real Madrid. The 28-year-old defender, who arrived at the Bernabéu at the age of 17 after being scouted by Zinedine Zidane, spent 11 seasons in Madrid and won four Champions Leagues, three Liga titles, a Copa del Rey, three Spanish and three European Super Cups and the Club World Cup on four occasions in partnership with Sergio Ramos, who has also left Madrid for PSG

United finally get their man in Varane

The departure of Varane brings an end to one of the most successful defensive duos in Real Madrid history and leaves incoming coach Carlo Ancelotti with a serious headache in the heart of defence. Although no official details have been made available, it is believed United will pay in the region of €50m for Varane, in what is essentially a forced sale due to the player's reluctance to sign a new deal - he would have become a free agent at the end of the current season - and the Bernabéu board's need to raise funds.

United have been pursuing Varane for some time and his decision to run down his contract at Real Madrid after turning down the offer an extension opened the door for the Premier League side to make their move. Madrid, for their part and despite not wishing to part company with the World Cup-winner, were fully aware that Varane was one of the club's most coveted players and elected to cash in now rather than lose him for nothing in a year's time. 

Ancelotti with decisions to make in central defence

For Ancelotti, who agreed to take over at Madrid for a second spell following the departure of Zidane, the loss of both Varane and Ramos in the same transfer window is a considerable blow. Éder Militão, 22, can now be considered Madrid's second senior central defender and he will likely be partnered by new arrival David Alaba, a versatile defender who can play across the back line but who recently has specialized as a central defender at Bayern Munich. The ever-reliable Nacho will provide back-up, unless Madrid decide to make another move in the market.

A fourth central defender will be sourced from within, with Jesús Vallejo in pole position to fill that role after a successful season on loan at Granada. Ancelotti has also been running the rule over what Castilla have to offer. Víctor Chust broke into the senior squad last season and the Italian has been impressed by the performances of 20-year-old academy graduate Mario Gila