Raphael Varane has opened up on his Manchester United ‘motivation’ and revealed how the Premier League is ‘different’ to La Liga.
The French international may be just a few games into his United career, yet he has already earned plaudits for his composed defensive displays, the 28-year-old having started in the wins over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle United since his arrival from Real Madrid for an initial £34m fee over the summer.
The World Cup winner opted to bring to an end a trophy-laden decade-long stint at the Bernabeu to make the move to the Premier League, having won three La Liga titles and four Champions League’s during his spell in the Spanish capital.
The serial-winning centre-back – who had previously come close to joining the Red Devils in 2011 – is now undergoing a new adventure as part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, with the former Lens man revealing that it is a ‘big challenge’ to get the club ‘back to the top’.
“I want to be better. I want to improve. I want to push myself,” he told Sky Sports.
“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.”
Having spent 10 years playing for Los Blancos in La Liga, the move to a different league has thrown up new obstacles, with Varane revealing what it’s like to compete in the Premier League, as opposed to the Spanish top-flight.
“It’s a different kind of football,” he admitted. “It’s faster, you have more duels and the intensity is very high in every game. The rhythm on the pitch is different. You repeat a lot of runs and effort and you have to be ready because there is a lot of pressure.”
On paper, the Frenchman’s arrival also looks to have solved the problem of who partners captain Harry Maguire in the centre of defence, although Varane has insisted that it will take time to ‘feel comfortable on the pitch’ as a partnership.
“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 said.
“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.”
The defender’s arrival at Old Trafford has been somewhat overshadowed by the shock return of former Madrid teammate and United icon Cristiano Ronaldo, although he admitted he is ‘very happy’ to line up alongside the Portuguese great once again.
“I think he is the best example in the world in terms of work ethic and winning mentality,” Varane added.
“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.”