Varane blames football’s ‘suffocating’ schedule for France retirement

Raphael Varane says the “suffocating” schedule of top-level football was behind his decision to retire from France duty.

The Manchester United defender announced on Thursday he has called time on his career in international football, after winning 93 caps in a 10-year stint, landing World Cup glory in 2018 along the way.

The former Real Madrid centre-back, who joined United 18 months ago, featured in six of France’s games at the recent World Cup in Qatar, where they were beaten on penalties by Argentina in the final.

At the age of 29, he could realistically have targeted another World Cup campaign, but Varane decided the punishing schedule of modern football was too much for him.

“I gave everything, physically and mentally,” Varane told Canal Plus. “But the very highest level is like a washing machine, you play all the time and you never stop.

“We have overloaded schedules and play non-stop. Right now, I feel like I’m suffocating and that the player is gobbling up the man.”

Varane, who captained his country 20 times, is the fifth member of France’s 2018 World Cup squad to retire from international football, after Blaise Matuidi, Steve Mandanda, Adil Rami and former captain Hugo Lloris.

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