Raphael Varane has admitted that he thought his future did not lie at Real Madrid when he found himself on the periphery of the squad.
A favourite of Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu, the young Frenchman was less involved under Carlo Ancelotti and struggled initially to make an impression under Zinedine Zidane.
Indeed, such was his dearth of playing time, the former Lens youngster confessed that he spoke to the coach before the summer regarding his future.
“I wondered if the club was in tune with my aim, which was to play,” he told L’Equipe.
“I needed to know what I had to do to get playing time. Zidane told me things clearly, notably that I was important to him. We left on good terms.
“The president and the coach told me they were going in my direction. I put my head to the handlebars and I worked before and during pre-season.
“I don’t forget that Real Madrid is a big thing. And I don’t forget that I’m only 23, even though I’m finishing my sixth season here.”
Varane has since rediscovered his place as a regular, although a recent hamstring problem has prevented him from featuring since the middle of February. As such, he has no plans of departing.
“I’m very well in Madrid,” he continued. “All the lights are green. I’m focused on the exciting spring that awaits us.
“It would be wonderful to spend my whole career at Madrid. But my early days taught me to enjoy every moment because everything can change very quickly – I saw that with Euro 2016.”