Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane has admitted his career is at a turning point, after he failed to establish himself as a regular at the Santiago Bernabeu ahead of Sergio Ramos and Pepe. The French star's revelations come amid ongoing links with a summer move to Manchester United.
Varane moved to Los Blancos in the summer of 2011 while Jose Mourinho was still in charge at the La Liga giants. He was expected to serve as just a back-up but, the Portuguese tactician give the then teenager a major role in his defence, ahead of Ramos and Pepe – hailing him as the best young centre-back in the world.
But the France international has failed to become a regular starter under the subsequent reigns of Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez and even his compatriot Zinedine Zidane.
The defender was heavily linked with a move to Chelsea during Mourinho's tenure at Stamford Bridge, while last summer Real Madrid president Florentino Perez revealed that Manchester United tried to lure him, along with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, to Old Trafford.
Rumours about Varane's move to United have increased recently amid the possibility of Mourinho taking over from Louis van Gaal at the end of the season.
Zidane himself was force to address the situation in February during a press conference.
The Real Madrid bosssaid: "We have seen [in the press] that Mourinho wants him. It is normal. He knew him perfectly because he brought him to Real Madrid. I spoke to Mourinho when he was here [to advise him about his signing] but he made the decision to sign him. What I can say is that he is a Real Madrid player and I want him to stay with us all his life because he's the future of Real Madrid."
The Mirror, earlier this month, suggested United are planning a £25m ($36.5m) move to lure him to Old Trafford, while Spanish radio station Onda Cero added that the move would be more likely if Mourinho became boss.
Varane has failed to diminish speculations, suggesting that he is not completely satisfied with his season at Real Madrid. He made 33 appearances but was dropped for crucial games like the Champions League semi-final with Manchester City and the quarter-final with Wolfsburg.
"After five years at Real Madrid, I hope I am able to overcome any kind of obstacle. I feel I'm at a turning point. I think all players need to feel as though they are developing – it's important to feel you are making progress and that's something I aim to do every day. I am aware of what qualities I have and what I am capable of," the Frenchman said, as quoted by L'Equipe.
"Up until November I played practically every match. It's fair to say that I did make a few mistakes, which I don't normally make. But looking back over the season as a whole, there's no point in focusing on that – it's outweighed by the positive things that happened. It's true that I would have liked to have been a part of the more decisive games at the end of the season – especially in the Champions League – but these are decisions that the coach makes".