After a stunning performance in his El Clásico debut, Real Madrid's teenage centre-back is the centre of attention.
Raphaël Varane, whose speed, lightening quick reflexes and equalizing goal delighted the home fans, has stolen nearly every headline today – most especially from the delighted newspapers in his homeland.
L’Equipe is typical: Varane stopped Barcelona.
His pace is frightening, as Messi and his teammates found out a number of times... A quick thinker, a step ahead of his teammates and a step ahead of his opponents too. Not many players can claim to have the world's best, in Messi, in their back pocket. Varane couldn't quite claim that accolade, but he was very close. Messi knew it.
All this at the tender age of 19 and in his first Clasico match. A match heaped in pressure. All this with a makeshift Madrid defence lining up against arguably the best attack in the world. The experienced Sergio Ramos suspended and both Pepe and Marcelo out injured -- the latter only fit enough for the bench. A regular midfielder Michael Essien plugging the gap at right back (and doing it pretty well), while regular right back Alvaro Arbeloa moved to the left.
The delighted teenager spoke with Real Madrid’s in-house media after this, his first Clásico.
Scoring here is an incredible feeling. It’s a dream come true to have done it at the age of 19...I still can’t believe what I did. The goal means the tie is still open...Mourinho didn’t give me any particular instruction he just said to give it my all...
In their editorial, As noted that the players expected to star were more subdued than usual. Messi seemed off the pace while Ronaldo picked up an ankle injury in the first ten minutes and couldn’t run it off properly. It was a perfect setting for Varane to show his talent. Alfredo Relaño also had words of praise for our newly returned goal keeper:
It'll be hard to see him [Varane} out of the team when Pepe and Sergio Ramos come back. As for the rest, Diego López provided a crucial save from Jordi Alba, with the score at 1-1, which will support his claims on this return to Madrid.
José Mourinho continued his habit of not speaking to the press after a win or draw.
Our assistant coach, Aitor Karanka addressed the press instead.
He was perfect...
He conveys calm... He has been playing in the First Division for many years and showed the quality that he has and that the team knows that he has. [On the selection] We had to choose one. The experience and calmness that Diego showed was clear and shows that we did not make a mistake. Antonio is still a great goalkeeper and we have confidence in him and for the remainder of the season we will keep making the best choice for the team.
Meanwhile, Xavi Hernández continues his project in self-parody:
We were better than them...we had chances to score we would normally score...they only had isolated chances...
The players have already returned to prepare for their next match, against Granada.