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Millennium Post

Varane praised after stellar show

For an inexperienced central defender lining up against Lionel Messi in his first ‘Clasico’, things could hardly have gone better for Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane in Wednesday’s 1-1 King’s Cup semifinal draw against Barcelona. The 19-year-old Frenchman produced a near-impeccable performance to thrill the home fans at the Bernabeu, making several vital interceptions and crowning a mature display with a fine headed equaliser seven minutes from time.The goal boosted Real’s chances for the second leg at the Nou Camp at the end of next month as Varane got effusive praise from team mates and club officials. ‘He played a sensational game and finished it off with a headed goal that keeps us alive in the tie,’ former Real striker now club director Emilio Butragueno told Spanish television. ‘He is 19 years old and to come out and play against Barcelona and not make any mistakes is very significant.’ Meanwhile an ecstatic Varane noted, ‘I am very happy with my performance.’ ‘It was an incredible experience for me and to score a goal is a dream,’ he added. ‘I still don’t believe it. It was my best game since I joined Real Madrid.
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