Manchester United defender Raphael Varane to leave at the end of season

Leaving Old Trafford: Raphael Varane Credit: PA Images

Defender Raphael Varane has announced he will leave Manchester United on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the 2024 season.

The 31-year-old France centre-back made a £34million switch to United in 2021 after a decade at Real Madrid full of honours, including four Champions Leagues and four La Liga titles.

But despite Varane describing how he fell in love with the club and its fans, Manchester has not brought anything like the success of Madrid.

When he arrived, to rapturous applause from a packed Old Trafford, United had just signed Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo and it seemed a new era might be dawning.

Varane received a rapturous welcome from the Old Trafford faithful Credit: PA Images

He quickly formed a centre-half partnership with Argentina's Lisandro Martinez, which provided a solid platform for United to win third place in the Premier League in the 2022-23 season.

But over his three terms at the club, Varane's involvement has been severely restricted by injuries, which have limited him to just 93 appearances.

He has not played since 4 April, 2024, when he was substituted at half-time in a 4-3 defeat at Chelsea after picking up a muscle injury.

United manager Eric ten Hag said he hoped Varane could still be fit for a final game for the club.

Varane said on social media: "To you guys, supporters of Manchester United, it’s been an amazing few years to play for this special club and wear that shirt.

"The first time I went to Old Trafford as a Man United player was insane, the atmosphere was amazing.

Varane will leave United on a free transfer Credit: PA Images

"I fell in love with the club, with the fans. You have to play for Man United to understand what that represents.

"For my kids, it’s home here. It’s going to be a special place for me, for life.

"When the fans to go Wembley, it’s something they will remember for life. To share that moment with them was absolutely amazing.“

"Despite the fact we had a difficult season, I’m very positive for the future. The new owners are coming with a clear plan and a great strategy.

"I’ll see you at Old Trafford to say goodbye for the last game at home this season and it’s going to be very emotional day for me, for sure."

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