Raphael Varane has admitted that fulfilling an enduring ambition in signing for Manchester United was his 'destiny' after meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011.
After a breakout season with Ligue 1 side Lens, Varane was among the most exciting centre-backs in Europe. Though Real Madrid won the race for his signature, the Frenchman has admitted that a meeting with the legendary United boss was one that he would never forget.
In an attempt to win the race for his signature, Sir Alex made the trip to Varane's mother's house in Lille to convince the burgeoning star to choose United over Madrid.
Unfortunately for United, the then 18-year-old was swayed by compatriot Zinedine Zidane, who was fulfilling a role as special adviser to Real Madrid's first team.
However, 10 years later, Varane has fulfilled his ambition to one day emulate his boyhood idol, Rio Ferdinand, to marshall the United defence under the lights of Old Trafford.
"It was a special moment for me and my family," Varane told Sky Sports. "It's amazing to meet a person like him at 18. You know, after that, it's your destiny. Ten years in Madrid, and now I'm here."
Sir Alex and Zidane were vindicated in their attempts to sign Varane as a youngster, as he has developed into one of the finest players in his position in the intervening period.
The Frenchman now has four Champions League's and a World Cup to his name, a testament to his talent and determination. The 28-year-old now hopes to bring that winning pedigree to Manchester, who have endured a difficult period since Sir Alex's retirement.
"That's my mentality," admitted Varane. "I want to be better. I want to improve. I want to push myself.
"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."
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