Liverpool star handed unexpected boost by Manchester United player after shock announcement
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Liverpool star Ibrahima Konate has been handed an unexpected boost after Raphael Varane announced his France retirement.
On Thursday Varane announced his international retirement at the age of just 29.
The centre-back, who won the World Cup with Les Bleus in 2018, made 93 appearances for his country in nine years.
Indeed, Varane's retirement has come as a shock, with the Manchester United star having been tipped to take over the captaincy from Hugo Lloris, who also stepped down from the international game in the wake of the World Cup.
In a statement, Varane said: "Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honours of my life.
"Every time I wore this very special blue jersey I felt immense pride. The duty is to give it all, play my heart out and win every time we put on the field.
"I've been contemplating this for several months and deciding it's the right time for me to retire internationally."
Konate given boost
Konate’s hopes of becoming France’s first choice were bolstered by Varane’s surprise international retirement.
The Reds defender only made his senior debut for Les Bleus last June, starting in the Nations League against Austria. At the time Konate was handed the late call-up after Varane withdrew from the squad through injury.
However, the 23-year-old has since won seven international caps, five of which came in the 2022 World Cup.
Konate started three times in place of Varane as France reached the final in Qatar.
He also came on as a substitute against Denmark and featured in the final against Argentina as Didier Deschamps' side lost on penalties.
Despite Varane’s retirement, Konate still faces competition from the likes of Jules Kounde, William Saliba, Dayot Upamecano, Lucas Hernandez and Axel Disasi to become a starter for his national side.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Football, Ibrahima Konate, Raphael Varane, France, Liverpool, Manchester United