Raphael Varane on quitting France: I was 'suffocating' due to 'overloaded' schedule

Raphael Varane has said he retired from international football with France because the "overloaded" schedule was "suffocating."

Varane, 29, announced his retirement from France on Thursday after making 93 caps for his country. The Manchester United defender holds the 13th highest all-time appearance tally for the country.

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He helped his side reach the final of the World Cup in December and was also part of the side that won the tournament in 2018.

Following his decision to step down from his duties with France, Varane hit out at the relentless schedule.

"I gave everything, physically and mentally," he told Canal Plus. "But the very highest level is like a washing machine, you play all the time and you never stop.

"We have overloaded schedules and play non-stop. Right now, I feel like I'm suffocating and that the player is gobbling up the man."

Varane has been a key member of the French national team ever since making his international debut in 2013.

His announcement came just weeks after France's World Cup-winning goalkeeper and captain, Hugo Lloris, announced his retirement from international football aged 36.

Former Real Madrid teammate Thibaut Courtois criticised UEFA in 2021 over scheduling, saying players are being treated like "robots" in a packed football calendar.