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Varane announces international retirement

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Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has shared a heartfelt message on social media, after announcing his retirement from international football with France.

The 29-year-old made 93 appearances and scored five goals for Les Bleus, in a stellar nine-year stint that began with his debut in March 2013 and included the World Cup triumph in 2018.

Varane also helped Didier Deschamps’s side to finish as runners-up in Qatar 2022.

It now transpires that World Cup final defeat to Argentina on 18 December, in one of the competition’s greatest games of all time, was his last outing for his country.

Rapha shared his pride at having been able to play for France in a post on Instagram, and referred to the 2018 success in Russia as being one of the best moments of his life.

“Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honours of my life,” Varane wrote on Twitter.

“Each time I wore this special blue jersey, I felt immense pride. The duty to give everything, to play with my heart and to win every time we entered the field.

“I have been thinking about it for several months and decided that it was the right time for me to retire from international football.

“As a child, I remember following France ‘98, this team, these players who made us experience indescribable emotions.

“I dreamed of being our heroes and 20 years later I lived one of the best experiences of my life, the ones that made me really proud. We brought home the cup!

“I will never forget it. I still feel every single one of the emotions felt on that day, July 15, 2018. That was one of the most amazing and memorable moments of my life.

“This victory that we won all together would never have been possible without the support of Didier Deschamps, every member of the management and staff over the years, and my team-mates who have defended our shirt in every game we played.

“But more importantly, this victory would not have been possible without every single one of you supporting us along the way.

“Your fervour, the celebrations and the memories of our return to France will forever be etched in me.

“Even after the defeat in the final last year, you welcomed us as heroes when we returned. To each and every one of you, THANK YOU a thousand times!

“I will miss these moments with you for sure, but the time has come for the new generation to take over. We have a bunch of talented young players who are ready to take over, who deserve a chance and who need you.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Rapha.”

Everyone at Manchester United would like to congratulate Rapha on an incredible international career.

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