Coauthored by Jeremy Roth and David Talpalar
(Courtesy of ESPN)
Another sure starter when France opens up against Romania in less than a month and a half’s time is Raphaël Varane, just 23 years of age and of Martinique descent, a small Caribbean island off the coast of France. Black as a result of his father’s heritage, Varane has taken a very different route to becoming a massive player for the French side. At just 23, Varane has already been capped 28 times and even scored two goals, and he will hope to add to perhaps both of those tallies this June.
Varane is widely regarded as the best young center back in the world, dating all the way back to his time at Lens. At 18 years old, Spanish giants Real Madrid secured Varane’s services in a highly publicized transfer. He was regarded as “one of the hottest prospects in European football” at the time of the transfer (ESPN). In the last few years, Varane showed what the hype was all about, quickly emerging as a key figure in Real Madrid’s back line and helping the side to a Champions League triumph in 2014.
Varane’s rise to stardom has been meteoric. His incredible tactical awareness at such a young age is truly remarkable. When combined with his incredible combination of both power and pace for a center back makes him one of the most difficult center backs to beat in world football already, and he is still getting better. The video below perfectly incapsulates the all-around game that Varane already possesses. A key figure in the back for France this summer, Varane will be crucial to the squad at the 2018 World Cup and beyond, and he seems destined to one day captain his national team.
Varane demonstrates the well-rounded nature of his game (YouTube)
How to cite this article: “Projected France Starting XI at Euro 2016” Written by Jeremy Roth and David Talpalar (2016), European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/european-cup-2016-guide/identity-and-the-french-national-team/notable-players-in-the-projected-french-squad-with-african-heritage/raphael-varane/ (accessed on (date)).