David Alaba has revealed he is hoping that Raphael Varane stays at Real Madrid rather than joining Manchester United – while he explained his own decision to move to the Spanish capital.
After more than a decade of service to Bayern Munich, Alaba recently joined Real Madrid as a free agent. It will be an exciting new challenge for someone who became one of the Bundesliga’s best players. Able to play in a variety of roles, the Austria international will be keen to see who he lines up alongside.
At present, it seems like Real will mainly use Alaba as a centre-back. They have lost Sergio Ramos on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, so need someone to step into the middle of the defence.
Their need for Alaba to become a new leader at the back will only become greater if Varane leaves as well. The Frenchman is heavily linked with Manchester United, who have admired him for a long time and now seem closer than ever to landing him.
But Alaba is hoping that Varane does not make the move and they can form a partnership together in Madrid.
“Of course I would love to play with Varane,” Alaba said at his unveiling. “For many years he has played excellent football and not just now.
“He is a wonderful defender and has great qualities.”
Alaba would have liked to have played with Ramos, too, but the Madrid legend could not find an agreement to continue with the club.
His number four shirt will now be inherited by Alaba, who does not feel any extra pressure is attached to it.
“They only had this number available but I know what this number means for the club,” he said. “For me, it’s an honour to wear it.
“I want to honour this number. It really motivates me. It’s a number that represents strength and leadership.
“I haven’t come here to compare myself to other players. I’ve come here to be Alaba and to continue to be Alaba.
“I want to bring my qualities to this team. I’m a versatile player. I can play in different positions.
“Ramos has been here more than a decade and has played great football and is a leader. We all know that. It would have been a pleasure to have played with him.”
Alaba explains reason for moving
Much like there is now a battle for Varane’s services, with one suitor looking to be in the clear lead, there was widespread interest in Alaba when he announced he would be leaving Bayern.
However, he only had Madrid on his mind.
Explaining his decision to join them, he confirmed he had other offers but has ended up at the world’s “biggest club”.
“I decided to take another step in my career to grow as a player and as a person,” he said. “Of course I received other offers but, for me, there was only one option and that was Real Madrid. This is a dream come true.
“It’s the biggest club in the world and that is the challenge I was looking for.”
At Real, he will be reunited with former Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti, which compensates for his sadness that Zinedine Zidane has not stuck around to be his coach.
“I was saddened that Zidane left the club,” Alaba said. “But on the other hand, I was very happy that Ancelotti took over.
“We have an excellent relationship, having worked with him at Bayern.”