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Varane: “Benzema is at the peak of his game right now”

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The defender talked to UEFA a week ahead of Madrid’s visit to Manchester City.

Real Madrid v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane talked to UEFA.com in an interview as the team gets ready to visit Manchester City next Friday in what will be the return leg of the Champions League’s Round of 16, where Madrid are trailing 1-2 on aggregate.

“This second game will have a ton of intensity and a lot of pressing from both sides, it will be decided by the small details, a single mistake could be fatal or decisive. They managed to have more accuracy than us during the first leg and achieved the win, but it was a close game between two teams that like to have the ball,” said Varane.

The game will be played behind closed doors and that could obviously have an impact as Manchester City won’t have the support of their home fans.

“Yes, it will surely be different. We’re coming off a great streak of wins so you can imagine how much confidence we’ve gained. We have time to get ready for the game and the best team will advance,” explained the defender.

His teammate Karim Benzema led Real Madrid to their 34th La Liga title and Varane had nothing but praise for the striker.

“He’s in such great form. I’m not surprised by his skills, we know them, but it’s true that he’s making the best out of them now. He has great confidence and he’s at the peak of his game. We’re obviously very happy, he’s the leader of our offense and he gives us so much, not only because of his goals but also because of his passes and moves. In any case, his game allows the team to play our style. He has reached the experience, the quality and he’s in great shape right now,” said Varane.

This was also Zidane’s first full season after making his return to Real Madrid and Los Blancos managed to win another title with him in charge. Varane discussed how Zidane has changed his own game.

“He pushed me towards taking more chances and putting more effort it, trying to help the team offensive a little as well. He also gives you so much confidence and calmness. It’s important to have the support of your coach and the fact that he gives you advice makes you try things without hesitating,” concluded Varane.

The Frenchman will be expected to lead Real Madrid’s defensive line against City given the absence of Sergio Ramos, who is suspended. Militao will play alongside him in this crucial game.