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FIFA World Cup

Top five centre-backs who can replace Raphael Varane in French national team

Published at :March 14, 2023 at 5:04 AM
Modified at :March 15, 2023 at 5:57 PM
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Rajarshi Shukla


Varane called time on his international career and wants to spend more time with his family.

Raphael Varane, a 29-year-old French centre-back, has confirmed his international retirement. After Hugo Lloris (36) and Steve Mandanda (36) retired from international competitions, the former Real Madrid defender is the third World Cup champion and runner-up from France to hang up his boots (37).

Therefore, Varane's decision to withdraw from international competition is welcome news to Dutch head coach Erik Ten Hag because it means that Manchester United will no longer be his sole focus. Varane, who was born in Lille, is reportedly enduring physical and mental deterioration and wants to spend more time with his family, according to Le Parisien, who first reported the news of Varane's retirement from international competition. Here are five centre-backs who France will hope can replicate Varane's legacy in defence.

5 Mohamed Simakan

In his brief career, Mohamed Simakan has already experienced some highs. He has now been recruited from Strasbourg to help RB Leipzig fill the void left by Dayot Upamecano, who is leaving for Bayern Munich.

Simakan is a powerful and impressive athlete who is equally at home playing full-back or at the centre of a back three or back four. Because of his effortless versatility, he has been likened to France's 1998 World Cup champion Thuram. He could even play in midfield if necessary.

4 Benoit Badiashile

Benoit Badiashile, a defensive player, appears to have the manager Didier Deschamps' confidence. Who Deschamps will choose once the international break begins is still unknown. There are many centre-backs because of the strong depth in France, and Badiashile is playing regularly for Chelsea, which will increase his chances of being called up by the coach for the upcoming national team matches.

3 William Saliba

One of the four players in line to replace Raphael Varane after the international break is Arsenal sensation, William Saliba.Saliba, who shone for Arsenal in their ascent to the top of the Premier League, is a top candidate to take on that position.

The Gunners have the foremost defensive record in the Premier League with four clean sheets thus far this season. Saliba, who has participated in each game of Arsenal's Premier League season thus far, has been at the centre of that resiliency.

The 21-year-old has performed admirably, but there are worries that he lacks sufficient international exposure.

2 Jules Kounde

Jules Kounde is having a fantastic season with Barcelona. Although he was called up by Deschamps for the World Cup in 2022, Kounde's future as an international defender is still up in the air because so many other defenders will be eager to demonstrate their mettle.

But, the former Sevilla player will be prepared to demonstrate his skills and will undoubtedly be called up. He may end up replacing Varane.

1 Ibrahima Konate

Ibrahima Konate, who received his first call-up for the World Cup 2022 but did not play sufficiently for the French team, might be the first choice centre-back to replace Varane. His future is assured at the international level. However, Liverpool are experiencing a difficult year on the club level, and Konate has missed most of the games due to injury. 

But, this has no bearing on his status with the France team, and the centre-back will be among the few defenders on the list to take Varane's place.

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