90min
Manchester United

Raphael Varane 'very happy' to be reunited with Cristiano Ronaldo at Man Utd

Scott Saunders
Varane is enjoying life at United so far
Varane is enjoying life at United so far / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has admitted he's delighted to be reunited with former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford - and believes there's nobody better in the world game to set an example of how to reach the top level.

Varane joined United for a fee which could total around £41m from the Spanish capital in the summer, ten years after Sir Alex Ferguson visited his parents' house in Lille to try and bring him to Old Trafford.

An intervention from Zinedine Zidane ensured Varane chose Spain that time, but Varane has now embarked on a new adventure and admits he's relishing the challenge of playing in a new league.

In an interview with Sky Sports ahead of Sunday's trip to West Ham, Varane revealed he was pleased to team up again with 36-year-old Ronaldo, who rejoined United in a deal from Juventus after 12 years away.

"I think he is the best example in the world in terms of work ethic and winning mentality," Varane said. "Playing with this type of player, you improve every day. If he is still playing to such a high level at his age, it's because his work is amazing. I'm very happy to play with him."

Varane, who speaks fluent English, is expected to form a regular partnership with captain Harry Maguire at the heart of United's defence. Though he didn't play from the start in the Champions League in midweek, Varane is expected to return on Sunday - and realises there's work ahead to forge an understanding like the one he had with another former Real Madrid teammate.

"With Sergio Ramos, I had 10 years to get to know him, to get to know how he moves on the pitch and how I have to move to be complementary with him," he added.

"I think Harry Maguire is a great player but we have to work hard to feel comfortable on the pitch. It's the same with every defender in the team. It's important to feel connected. We have to move together and motivate each other. Every day, we are learning and improving."

Varane also discussed meeting Ferguson as a teenager, and shed light on the conversations he had with the likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Paul Pogba about what it would be like to play for United.

"It was a special moment for me and my family [to meet Ferguson]," he continued. "It's amazing to meet a person like him at 18. You know, after that, it's your destiny. Ten years in Madrid and now I'm here.

"This is a new challenge for me. A different competition, a different mentality, a different atmosphere. It's all new for me but I've enjoyed every day so far. It's a big challenge to get Manchester United back to the top but I feel people want to win, people want to do great things with this club, and that's a big motivation for me.

"[Solskjaer] spoke to me about the ambition of the team, and how I would feel playing for Manchester United.

"Paul spoke to me about the club, about the atmosphere, about the expectations. Of course, he is a great player. But he also has very good, positive energy. He is a leader for the group. I've known him for a very long time so I'm happy to play with him."

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