France not only won their second World Cup in history. The players who made this trophy possible also wrote their own history.
That’s the case with Raphael Varane, France’s center-back who accomplished one of the rarest things in football.
Raphael Varane Achieved a Historic Double With France World Cup Triumph
He won the double: the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup in the same year to become the ninth player to do so, and the second Frenchmen overall.
Varane, in fact, was a key player in France’s success. He, together with Samuel Umtiti, kept the French defense compact and impenetrable.
Varane made an impact on the defensive side. He recovered 47 balls, made 39 clearances, blocked five shots, and tallied one tackle, all the while playing every single minute for Les Bleus.
Madrid Comes First
For the third straight season, Varane won the Champions League with Real Madrid. Though this time is more special. In addition to that triumph at club level, Varane played an integral part in his nation’s historic championship run.
The 25-year-old Frenchman has nothing to prove. Three straight titles in the world’s best club tournament say it all.
Varane competed in the final against his club’s teammate Luka Modric in the World Cup final. Both were looking to accomplish the “double,” but it was Varane who took it all.
Modric could not do much to stop France. He did not shine as usual due to the fierce defensive system.
However, Modric still had an outstanding season. He led his country to their first international final after playing three consecutive extra times.
Even so, Modic fell short against Varane’s side despite the effort Croatia put on the pitch.
Mateo Kovacic is the other Real Madrid player in Croatia’s 23-men list, though, he’s was not eligible to complete the double as he remained on the bench in the final against Liverpool and also he was an unused substitute in the World Cup decisive match.
A Unique Double Phenomenon
Here’s a look at the nine players who have won the Champions League and the World Cup the same year:
1974: Sepp Maier, Paul Breitner, Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Uli Hoeness (Bayern Munich & West Germany)
1998: Christian Karembeu (Real Madrid & France)
2002: Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid & Brazil)
2018: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid & France).
It is a remarkable achievement for Varane at such a young age. He still has some business ahead of him but regardless of the situation he already has gone down in football’s history books.