Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane has revealed a conversation that he had with former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2011.
The Frenchman, now 26, arrived in the Spanish capital from Lens as an 18-year-old, yet he was not afraid to assert himself in front of the Portuguese superstar.
“Varane, in the middle,” the Frenchman told Onze Mundial when recollecting an anecdote involving Cristiano and himself during one of his first training sessions after joining Real Madrid.
“I’m not Varane, I’m Rafa,” he responded.
When discussing that incident, Varane offered an insight into his personality.
“I didn’t feel it was disrespectful,” he continued.
“I’m very polite, even funny in the locker room. But also shy.
“In any case, when there are difficult moments or you have to show your personality, you can count on me.
“The players who’ve known me for a long time now know that.
“I’m sure it’s not the aspect of my character that’s the most visible or the most noticeable, but that wasn’t the time to let myself down.
“That wasn’t a question of disrespect, but of: ‘I’m not seen much, I’m not considered,’ so it was a way of saying: ‘I’m here too, I have a name too.’
Varane, in any case, praised Cristiano and only has fond memories of the forward, who left for Juventus in the summer of 2018.
“Great, great… As a human and a footballer – I don’t even have words anymore,” Varane responded when asked what his memories of Cristiano are.
“He achieved something extraordinary: he made the feat normal, banal. And to do that, there are no words to explain how crazy it is – it’s huge, it’s extraordinary.
“He taught me a lot and he also surprised me.
“How many times have I said to myself, ‘Wow, how strong is he!'”