Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has revealed that he looked to Rio Ferdinand when he tried to establish himself in the Premier League following his move from Real Madrid.

The Frenchman arrived at Old Trafford from The Whites in 2021, and the 29-year-old recently made his 50th appearance for the Reds. Varane has impressed since he joined United but has struggled with injury in recent years. Despite this, he has already made 22 appearances for Erik ten Hag’s side this season.

Varane, who won four Champions League titles with Madrid, has formed a strong partnership with Lisandro Martínez this term. Both were hoping to start in the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United at the weekend.

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Former Reds manager Sir Alex Ferguson originally sought a deal for the defender before his move to Madrid, and José Mourinho was also interested in signing the defender during his time at Old Trafford. Varane need not look far for United inspiration, and the centre-back has opened up about the influence Ferdinand has had on him.

Asked if Ferdinand was one of the players he looked at when he joined United, Varane told club media: “Yes, definitely. I think his partnership with (Nemanja) Vidic was impressive and he is a legend here, so obviously in my position, I was looking for him so that he would know how to defend here in England because it is a special championship.

“It was awesome, so I learned a lot from him. He was very happy to welcome me and share his experience.”

Ferdinand made 455 appearances for United during his time at Old Trafford, and the English defender won six Premier League titles, three League Cups and the Champions League.


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