Varane revels in 'dream' Clasico debut

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane revealed his elation after putting in a display which belied his years in the Clasico against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

With first-choice centre-back pairing Pepe and Sergio Ramos unavailable for Los Blancos, the 19-year old was drafted into defence, and turned in a man-of-the-match performance in front of the Santiago Bernabeu crowd.

The Frenchman was understandably delighted with his display. 

“It’s a game I will always remember; it is a dream at only 19 years. I’m happy with my performance and the team. Now I must go on,” he told reporters.

Cesc Fabregas had given Barcelona the lead shortly after the break, but Varane rescued Madrid with less than 10 minutes to go when he bulleted a header in from Mesut Ozil’s free-kick to make it 1-1.   

The former Lens man had previously saved the hosts from going two down when he somehow got back to claw the ball from the feet of Pedro when the Barca man was through on goal, and built on this with a number of well-timed interceptions and passes into midfield.

The defender was also the subject of praise from Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka, who hailed the performance of the France international in the post-match press conference.

He said: “To begin with Rafa [Varane], you cannot do better. Varane scored and made the tie. To follow his progress is great. Varane had a perfect match.”

The 39-year-old also had positive words to say about the team as a whole, insisting he was more than satisfied with the display.

Karanka added: “It was an awesome job of the whole team because many players have been out of their positions. There will be time to prepare for the return leg.”

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