Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has spoken out in defence of Raphael Varane. The Frenchman joined United last summer after winning all there is to win at Real Madrid but endured a difficult first campaign at Old Trafford. Injuries forced him to miss 17 games throughout his maiden season meaning he ended up playing a total of just 29.
United finished second in the Premier League in 2020/21 but finished sixth last term, qualifying for the Europa League by the skin of their teeth. For Ferdinand, Varane doesn’t deserve to come under unduly harsh criticism for his first season in England. He walked into a club in chaos with a mentality that was a million miles from the Santiago Bernabeu.
“He comes from a club whose titles will tell you are performing at the highest level, with players consistently playing at their best,” Ferdinand said in comments carried by Diario AS. “And then he arrives to a totally different situation where a club isn’t functioning.
“There’s no confidence, no guidance, no structure. He’s reached a strange place where he must be thinking: ‘I haven’t seen the likes of this since I was a youngster.’ Coming from that culture and that world-class standard to United will have been a huge change.”
Ferdinand, 43, is considered to be one of the finest centre-backs to have ever played the game. He spent 12 years of his career at United and won everything there is to win – six Premier League titles, two League Cups, four Community Shields, the Champions League and the Club World Cup. He knows a thing or two about centre-backs.