Raphael Varane: Mourinho told me to up my game

Raphael Varane: Mourinho told me to up my game


Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has credited former boss Jose Mourinho for making him realise he had to work harder if he was to succeed at the club.

The France international joined the club as a teenager from Lens in 2011 but injuries held back his progress. When he was fit, he found it tough to dislodge Pepe or Sergio Ramos from the first team.

Speaking to Marca, the centre back revealed how now-Chelsea boss Mourinho pulled him aside after training and told him he had to make more of an effort if he wanted to have a long career at Europe’s most successful club.

“During my second year at Madrid, Mourinho kicked me up the backside. I wasn’t doing what he wanted on the training pitch. He asked me ‘why don’t you run in training?’ and my first reaction was to mutter ‘oh, come on!’ but I knew he was right. I had more to give. Mourinho doesn’t have to give long speeches. He’s precise and direct. He told me that for my own good,” he commented.

He also told the newspaper about the moment he received the call from Los Blancos about a move to the Spanish capital and how he’s matured over the years from an over-excited teenager to the figure of calm he shows now.

“I was very hyper, not like how I appear calm today. I was too playful with my brothers and sisters. They had to calm me down. You can live without worries when you’re young. But that phone call from Madrid changed everything. It was the craziest moment of my life. The phone kept ringing! I spent my exams signing autographs for the other students. I didn’t understand what was happening. It was surreal.”