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Turn the rumor mill up to eleven: Mourinho calls Raphael Varane 'best defender in the world'

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Hidden in the massive Internet-shaking announcement that Jose Mourinho has joined Tumblr is the following little golden nugget:

I think he (Varane) is the best central defender in the world, a young one I think he's the best. Already, yes. I think he's the best.

-Jose Mourinho; source: Yahoo! via FourFourTwo

The phrasing is a bit odd and slightly vague (you can see for yourself in the video).  Did he mean best young defender in the world or best defender in the world who also happens to be quite young?  Most of the media seem to be rolling with the former, but I almost think he meant it as the latter.  After all, as Graham just told me, "Raphael Varane is god." I'm not sure many would disagree.

Incidentally, one man who just might disagree to a certain extent is Varane's current manager, Carlo Ancelotti, who has played the eyebrow-raising partnership of Pepe and Sergio Ramos in central defense for much of the season.  How much of that is a result of personal/tactical preference and how much is due to Varane's continuing knee issues that started at the end of last season - he had a minor arthroscopic operation on his knee (meniscus) in May - is tough to tell.  But the fact remains that after making over 30 appearances last season (and even earning a spot in Marca's "Best Foreign 11 of ALL-TIME"), he has featured less than ten times this season.

Varane did play the full 90 minutes for Real versus Elche in the league and against Atletico in the cup in February but was back on the bench against the same opposition for the top-of-table clash in La Liga as well as against Schalke 04 in the Champions League.  He also seemed to come through unscathed and with flying colors in France's 2-0 victory over the Netherlands just a couple days ago.

So perhaps there are a few straws to be actually clutched here should Chelsea decide to seriously pursue the 20-year-old, uber-talented defender who just might be the best in the world.


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