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The Early International Retirement of Varane

On February 2nd, Varane announced his international retirement. But now that the international teams are going to be on the pitch again for the first time since the end of the World Cup, this will be noticed in practice.

Raphäel Varane will be 30 next April. Just 30! The same age that Philipp Lahm was when he retired after lifting the 2014 World Cup. What is interesting about the retirement of Man Utd’s French star is the fact that the reason behind it was the same as it always is: the player couldn’t take so many fixtures anymore, and the calendar is just too tiring.

Being an international footballer of international teams such as France and England means that you’ll normally have to wear the colours of your nation every other summer.

The coaching staff and the fitness staff of top clubs like Manchester United can do their best to help the players learn how to become more flexible and avoid muscular injuries, as well as being as strong and fit as possible, but when it comes to battling against the schedule and calendar, that just won’t do as the players approach 30.

Varane has been in the top flight for a while and won the Champions League many times with Real Madrid, as well as The World Cup with France in 2018. He lived the biggest glory that an international player can live. 

Football is supposed to be enjoyable even for professionals, or especially for professionals. Becoming a professional player is not a common career, and it normally is a childhood dream coming true for most footballers.

International Calendars and Club Level Calendars: The Problems of 2023

Most players of big clubs like Man Utd can play over 60 games a year. If you get very tired after a weekend footie match with your friends, imagine 60 fixtures, at the highest level, against equally fit opponents.

If the current calendars of modern football are making our players so weary that they don’t even get to play for the international team until the very end of his or her career, then it’s probably time to rethink the entire calendar urgently.

The players that entertain us at the club level and at the international level are the same, and they’re not robots.

In the last World Cup, Germany for example didn’t have Kroos, a player that is a key man of Real Madrid to this day.

We all learned to love footie by following our international teams too and not just the club that we support.

Manchester United and The Situation of Varane

It’s sad to say, but players retiring earlier do benefit their teams. Kroos may be tired and could retire as of the end of the season, but he probably was able to play more games in the last seasons after this decision.

We probably will see Varane rather fit to wear the colours of Man Utd compared with the situation we would have if he would still be a French international after his 30th birthday. 

International football, however, deserves to live up to its history and a calendar restructuring is definitely in order.