With skipper and defensive stalwart Sergio Ramos suspended for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final with Juventus, Real Madrid may be forced into a defensive reshuffle at the back and Raphael Varane has insisted the defending champions will be able to cope, irrespective of who partners him.
With Ramos serving a one-match ban for accumulation of yellow cards after getting cautioned in last week’s 3-0 win at the Juventus Stadium, there had been speculation that Zinedine Zidane could be tempted to utilise defensive midfielder Casemiro at the back.
As regular back-up Nacho is injured, Zidane only has the uncapped (UEFA Champions League only) Jesus Vallejo as his other option and considering the magnitude of the tie, may call upon the Brazilian hard-man to deputise at the back.
“If he (Casemiro) plays in defence, we know each other really well. In training, he has played alongside me, and I know well how he defends and plays, like the other teammates, Varane stated at the pre-match press conference in Madrid.
“It really is vital to know each other and in such a demanding game communication is paramount so we stay on the same wavelength,” the French defender added.
“I need to be on form, performing at the top level. I’m a straightforward person. I know how to help my teammates,” Varane expressed as he continued, “We need to be competitive and I’ll have to do as (Sergio) Ramos does: shout and be ready for anything. I’ll do that in the best way possible. It’s important for my teammates to be with me and stay competitive.”
Los Blancos, on course for an unprecedented three-peat in the UEFA Champions League, are heavy favourites to progress to the semis after their massive away win in Italy last week but will have to be wary of complacently when the Bianconeri come visiting on Wednesday.