Having emerged as one of the brightest young talents in this season's UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid CF and France defender Raphaël Varane spoke to UEFA.com about the key to flourishing in his position, the infectious talent of his team-mates and Zinédine Zidane's iconic volley of 2002.
"You need to convey calm and instil confidence among the rest of the team," the 19-year-old said of the centre-back's role. "Communication is also very important as well as a good positional sense. In this position you have to play with your head, think a lot – these are the most important skills to possess."
Already a first-team regular at the Santiago Bernabéu, Varane's meteoric rise continued when he made his full international debut in France's 3-1 friendly success against Georgia last month. "I owe my achievements to hard work and my team-mates, who have helped me a lot," the former RC Lens prodigy added. "The coach [José Mourinho] has also shown faith in my ability and helped me improve as a player."
Madrid face Borussia Dortmund with a record tenth European title in sight and their first since overcoming Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-1 in the 2002 showpiece – a night that lives long in the memory for Varane. "Zizou's volley is the first thing that comes to mind," he said. "The Champions League showcases the best of the best. It's the greatest club competition, full of emotion and great footballing moments. Winning the competition would be a dream."
To watch the full interview with Varane, click on the video player above.
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