‘The complete package’
At his best, Manchester United defender Raphael Varane’s style is similar to that of a Rolls Royce.
The French centre-back oozes class and ushers danger away with ease while also beginning attacks with his pinpoint passing and superb vision.
Rapha is currently at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where France have reached the final and are now just one win away from becoming the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain the trophy, having lifted it in Russia in 2018.
Argentina – featuring United’s Lisandro Martinez – stand in the way of Les Bleus, in what is sure to be a thrilling finale to the month-long tournament in the Middle-East.
Ahead of this mouth-watering clash, one of Rapha’s former team-mates Toni Kroos heaped praise on the 29-year-old, whom he played with at Real Madrid between 2014 and 2021.
“He’s incredibly fast. Really one of the fastest team-mates, I would even say,” Kroos told Spanish newspaper Real Total.
“There were a few quick ones [at Real Madrid]. He’s really incredible. I never really saw anyone run away from him in our time here.
“He was a solid pillar for us alongside (Sergio) Ramos for many years. He did an outstanding job and is really the complete package.
“He doesn’t do miracles with the ball but is a highly awkward defender to play against.
"You can’t beat him in the air and, as I said, he’s incredibly fast, so you can’t run away from him either. He’s a good man.”
Varane looked unlikely to get back fit in time for the winter World Cup when he suffered a thigh injury away to Chelsea in October.
However, he recovered well and has been a mainstay of Didier Deschamps’s side since the second group-stage match against Denmark.
Rapha will need to use all of his pace on Sunday to thwart Lionel Messi, who has been the difference-maker for Argentina multiple times already in Qatar, and lift the World Cup for a second consecutive time.
Kick-off at the Lusail Stadium is set for 15:00 GMT, and you can find out how Varane and his Reds team-mate Martinez fare against one another in our dedicated World Cup blog on ManUtd.com and in the United App.