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A third France player retires from international football

© Ace Football

After Karim Benzema and Hugo Lloris’ respective retirements, Raphael Varane has become the third France star to leave the national team.

Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has announced his retirement from international football.

The 29-year-old becomes the third France player to pull the curtain on his international career since the World Cup after striker Karim Benzema, 35, and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, 36.

“Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” Varane posted on his Instagram on Wednesday.

“Every time I wore this very special blue jersey, I felt immense pride. The duty to give it [my] all, play my heart out, and win every time we went on the field. I’ve been contemplating this for several months and decided it’s the right time for me to retire.

“As a child, I remember following France 98, this team, these players who made us experience indescribable emotions. I dreamed of being our hero, and 20 years later, I lived one of the best experiences of my life.

“We brought home the World Cup!! I will never forget it. I still feel every single one of the emotions felt on that day, July 15, 2018. That was one of the most amazing and memorable moments of my life.

“But more importantly, this victory would not have been possible without every single one of you supporting us along the way. Even after the defeat in the final last year, you welcomed us as heroes when we returned. To each and every one of you, THANK YOU a thousand times!

“I will miss these moments with you for sure, but the time has come for the new generation to take over. We have a bunch of talented young players who are ready to take over, who deserve a chance, and who need you.”

Varane won 93 caps on the international stage after debuting for France in March 2013. The center-back made six goal contributions (five goals, one assist). He started every game of Les Bleus’ famous World Cup win in 2018 and was a vital part of the team that reached the World Cup final again last December.