Raphael Varane has announced his retirement from international football, saying it is time for France’s “new generation” to take over.
Varane, who made his France debut in March 2013, made 93 appearances for Les Bleus.
The former Real Madrid centre-back, who joined Manchester United in 2021, played and started in all seven games of France’s successful 2018 World Cup campaign.
Despite heading into last year’s World Cup with an injury, Varane featured in six of France’s matches in Qatar, including in the final against Argentina.
On Wednesday, Varane shared an Instagram post confirming his retirement from the international stage.
“Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honours of my life,” Varane wrote.
“Every time I wore this very special blue jersey I felt immense pride. The duty to give it [my] all, play my heart out and win every time we went on the field. I’ve been contemplating this for several months and decided it’s the right time for me to retire.
“As a child, I remember following France 98, this team, these players who made us experience indescribable emotions. I dreamed of being our heroes and 20 years later I lived one of the best experiences of my life.
“We brought home the World Cup!! I will never forget it. I still feel every single one of the emotions felt on that day, July 15, 2018. That was one of the most amazing and memorable moments of my life.
“This victory that we won all together would never have been possible without the support of [coach] Didier Deschamps, every member of the management and staff over the years, and my team-mates who have defended our shirt in every game we played.
“But more importantly, this victory would not have been possible without every single one of you supporting us along the way. Even after the defeat in the final last year, you welcomed us as heroes when we returned. To each and every one of you, THANK YOU a thousand times!
“I will miss these moments with you for sure, but the time has come for the new generation to take over. We have a bunch of talented young players who are ready to take over, who deserve a chance and who need you.”
Varane, who captained his country 20 times, is the fourth member of France’s 2018 World Cup squad to retire from international football, after Blaise Matuidi, Steve Mandanda and former captain Hugo Lloris.
Karim Benzema did not make that squad but was set to feature in Qatar until injury derailed his chances. The Ballon d’Or winner announced his retirement following the tournament.
Deschamps said: “Raphael called me a few days ago to explain to me that he wanted to put an end to his international career. He is an intelligent boy, who knows how to take the time to reflect, weigh the pros and cons before deciding.
“Without going into the details of our exchange, Raphael believes that he has reached the end of his adventure with the France team. I experienced a situation somewhat similar to his, I understand his arguments and respect his decision even if it may seem regrettable.
“Of course, I cannot turn this page without a certain emotion, given the ties we have forged since August 2012. Like Hugo Lloris, he will have been, barring injury, in all of my squads.”