Real Madrid: Exactly how valuable is Raphael Varane to the club?

Real Madrid, Raphael Varane (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Raphael Varane (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid already have to face the prospect of losing captain Sergio Ramos at the end of this season, as both parties still have not agreed to a new contract, much to the frustration of Madridistas. And now, there are rumblings that Los Blancos may lose their other superstar center back.

For years, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane have set the standard in central defense, not just in La Liga but in the entire world. Ramos is the living legend whose trophy case, goal-scoring tallies, and clutch moments are the stuff dreams are made of. But Varane’s got quite the legacy as well, even though he’s only 27. Varane’s accolades include numerous individual awards, four Champions League titles, and the most recent World Cup.

Although Varane had some rough moments to start the 2020-2021 season, the French center back has blossomed again in recent weeks, stepping up with Sergio Ramos out due to a knee injury that will require surgery. Varane rose to the occasion against Huesca in a come-from-behind 2-1 win with a pair of second-half goals, even replacing Ramos’ goal-scoring exploits in that win.

His value to Real Madrid should be at a level even above Ramos. Because while Ramos may mean more as a leader and sentimentally, Varane is in his prime at 27 and is probably the better pure defensive player, even if Ramos has him beat as a ball-playing center back and as a scorer.

Real Madrid could sell Raphael Varane for 50 million euros this summer

According to a recent article written by MARCA’s Carlos Carpio, Real Madrid will try to sell Raphael Varane for 50 million euros this summer IF the center back does not renew his deal.

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Varane would have just one year left on his contract after the 2020-2021 season, and Real do not want to lose such a valuable player for free. So while 50 million euros is below what we would determine as his market value, they would have to settle for something.

The thought of Real selling Varane scares me. I shudder to think of a future where Los Blancos are not starting Varane and Ramos, but are instead starting Eder Militao and either David Alaba or Nacho Fernandez.

A center back pairing of Militao and Nacho is highly unlikely – since Real could use the funds from Varane’s signing for, say, Jules Kounde or Pau Torres and pair one of them with Alaba as Ramos’ replacement – but it wouldn’t be impossible either.

Ramos’ leadership and intangibles are impossible to replace, as are his attacking involvements. But in Varane’s case, the actual defending itself is irreplaceable. Tell me, how many center backs under the age of 30 have accomplished what Varane has? How many of them are as quick-thinking, fast, aerially adept, and tactically intelligent as Varane? He is the definition of a player who reads the game so well, he scarcely must make a tackle.

There’s a case to be made that when you factor in age, Varane is Real’s most valuable player. Casemiro, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, Dani Carvajal, Thibaut Courtois, and Luka Modric are all world-class, vital players. But a 27-year-old center back with Varane’s trophies and individual quality? The man is peerless.

So imagine the shame of selling a player of his caliber to Chelsea, Manchester United, PSG, Manchester City, or Juventus for 50 million euros. Imagine what that would say about Real Madrid.

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We are about to find out how much Los Blancos value Varane when the two parties hit the negotiating table and discuss an extension. If Real cannot keep Varane AND let Ramos go, then we know that the answer to the question of Real’s valuation of Varane was simply, “not enough”. And while I am optimistic the club won’t make another devastating mistake, the nerves created by the mere suggestion of a Varane departure are sufficiently disconcerting. If only Los Merengues had reached an extension before this season started.