May 9, 2021

‘This is my defeat’ – Varane takes responsibility for Madrid Champions League exit after Man City horror show

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The centre-back made two costly errors directly leading to goals, sending the Merengue out of the competition

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has taken full responsibility for sending his side out of the Champions League after two damaging mistakes sealed the Merengue’s fate against Manchester City on Friday.

Having won the trophy on each of his first three attempts at the Madrid helm, Zinedine Zidane finally found himself on the wrong side of a European knock-out clash as City’s 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium sent them through to the last four with a 4-2 aggregate triumph. 

Karim Benzema struck in the first half to cancel out Raheem Sterling’s early opener, before Gabriel Jesus struck in the second half to put the tie beyond doubt.

Both of the hosts’ goals came after errors from Varane, who was exposed at the back in the absence of suspended centre-back partner Sergio Ramos. 

And the France international made no effort to shift the blame as he looked back on a disastrous 90 minutes at the Etihad. 

“This defeat is mine, I have to accept it,” he told reporters after the game. 

“I am responsible for this defeat. We had prepared well but you pay for your mistakes. I am sad for my team-mates. 

“At 1-1 we had the chance to qualify and today things did not go to plan.

Zidane, meanwhile, preferred to look at the positives from a season that saw Madrid reclaim the Liga title from Barcelona and backed the defender to recover from his blunders. 

“We will tell Varane, keep your head up,” the manager told reporters after the final whistle at the Etihad. 

“I prefer to dwell on what most of my players achieved over the course of the season, which was spectacular. 

“Our season has been very good. We have not ended with a good result, but the season has been good, despite everything. We must be very happy with what we have done.”

“We lost the two games, and in the end they deserved it. In first 15 or 20 minutes there was a feeling we could not get past their press. But then we played pretty well. In the second half, when we were on top, we gave up the second goal.”

City move on to face Lyon in the next round, after the French side upset Juventus on away goals following a 2-1 defeat in Turin.