Man Utd defender Raphael Varane has blamed the “suffocating” schedule of top-level football for his international retirement.
The centre-back shocked France earlier this week when he announced his retirement from representing his nation at the age of 29.
Varane won a World Cup and a Nations League during his time with France, scoring five goals in his 93 caps for Les Bleus.
It was not an easy decision for the Man Utd centre-back but he has come in for criticism with former France international Jerome Rothen calling it “stupid”.
“I think that at this age and when you play in a club that allows you to be at a very high level, you have a duty,” Rothen said. “It’s to bring your talent to your country. He’s a disaster. He has a long history, congratulations!
“He won the most beautiful of competitions, the World Cup in 2018. We saw all his contribution to the last World Cup.
“There was scepticism because he was coming off an injury, but he performed very well. But I tell myself: what a decision!
“It’s a disaster to hear that, not to wearing the national team shirt again at 29. He can’t do that.
“Raphael, don’t forget you brought a lot, but here you are doing something stupid! The competition? He put players in his pocket. It’s a major madness within this group.”
Varane has already released an emotional post on social media to explain his decision but in an interview with Canal+, that is due to be released in full on Sunday, the Man Utd defender has now revealed more of his reasons for quitting.
“I gave everything, physically and mentally. But the very highest level is like a washing machine, you play all the time and you never stop,” Varane told Canal+ .
“We have overloaded schedules and play non-stop. Right now, I feel like I’m suffocating and that [Varane] the player is gobbling up [Varane] the man.”
His statement earlier this week read: “Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honours of my life,” Varane wrote.
“Each time I wore this special blue jersey, I felt immense pride. The duty to give everything, to play with my heart and to win every time we entered the field. I have been thinking about it for several months and decided that it was the right time for me to retire from international football.
“As a child, I remember following France ‘98, this team, these players who made us experience indescribable emotions. I dreamed of being our heroes and 20 years later I lived one of the best experiences of my life, the ones that made me really proud. We brought home the 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.
“This victory that we won all together would never have been possible without the support of Didier Deschamps, every member of the management and staff over the years, and my team-mates who have defended our shirt in every game we played.
“But more importantly, this victory would not have been possible without every single one of you supporting us along the way.
“Your fervour, the celebrations and the memories of our return to France will forever be etched in me.
“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.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Rapha.”
READ MORE: Transfer gossip: Greenwood plots dramatic transfer if Man Utd block return; City eye Brighton star