Raphael Varane was Real Madrid's leading 'man' in El Clasico last night, heading home Mesut Ozil's cross nine minutes from time to cancel out Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas' 50th-minute opener.
Real assistant manager Aitor Karanka was full of praise for the phenomenal 19-year-old Frenchman, who also cleared a goalbound shot from Xavi off the line in the first half and produced a perfectly timed last-ditch tackle to prevent Fabregas adding a second when the score was 1-0.
"It is not possible to have done better than Rafa did," Karanka said. "He cleared one off the line and scored the equaliser.
"Following his progression has been phenomenal because he also had his head in the right place. With the team we have started with, everyone has done very well and we are happy with the match."
Varane himself described the experience as a "dream" and believes all is to play for in the return leg on February 27.
He told AS: "It is a match I will always remember. It is a dream at 19 years of age.
"I am happy with my performance and that of the team. Now we need to continue like this. Mourinho told me to give everything that I had and at the end my team-mates congratulated me. It is not the best result, but it leaves the tie open."
Raphael Varane showreel:
The boy can tackle, and so much more. World's best defender in four-to-five years? Could be.