Real Madrid star Raphael Varane says he is working hard to establish himself in manager Carlo Ancelotti's starting line-up after a season where he has seen his time on the pitch limited due to the form of Sergio Ramos and Pepe.
Even though the 22-year-old committed his future to the Champions League holders by signing a new deal in the summer of 2014, reports in Spain earlier in 2015 claimed he was so frustrated with his lack of football, he was considering a move away – with Chelsea and Manchester United monitoring the situation.
Some reports claimed Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who signed him from Lens during his time in charge at the Bernabeu, is likely to take advantage of the situation to reunite with him at Stamford Bridge.
The Portuguese boss has never hidden his admiration for the France defender while he is said to be in the market for a long-term replacement for captain John Terry.
The speculation over Varane's exit increased when French magazine Surface quoted him complaining about the competition with Pepe at Real Madrid, admitting the battle with the Portugal international "is a bad thing for his future".
But with injuries to both Ramos and Pepe, Varane has seized the chance to prove to Ancelotti that he deserves a regular place in his line-up, having started five of the last six games and as well the Champions League quarter-final second-leg tie against Atletico Madrid, with a fit Ramos playing in the midfield.
The France star admits he is happier now he is playing, while when asked during an interview with AS how he deals with a secondary role at Real Madrid after having a starting spot for his national team, Varane said: "My goal is to keep getting more and more minutes and to have more importance within the squad.
"You can only achieve that bit by bit and by working hard. Everybody knows that there are quality players at centre back for Madrid and for me that's the day-to-day challenge. That's why it's important to be ready to take advantage of every chance that comes up.
"Being able to get some games under my belt and feeling the confidence of the gaffer is something very important to me. That way I feel good on the pitch. Physically I'm at my best and I'm trying to give everything I can to the team."