The Real Madrid defender says the Portuguese coach knew exactly what made him tick during their time together at the Bernabeu and wasn’t afraid to give him a dressing down
Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has revealed how Jose Mourinho once gave him a “kick up the backside” by telling him to run more.
The Chelsea coach gave Varane his big break during his time in charge at the Bernabeu by playing him ahead of Pepe during his final season in charge in 2012-13.
But despite being a huge admirer of the centre-back, Varane says Mourinho knew exactly how to push his buttons to get the best out of him.
He told Le Journal du Dimanche: “During my second year at Madrid, Jose Mourinho gave me a kick up the backside. I wasn’t doing well, I wasn’t managing to do what he wanted me to out on the pitch.
“So he chided me, saying: ‘Why don’t you run in training?’ My first reaction was to mutter, ‘Oh come on…’ But I knew he was right, I had more to give.”
Varane praised Mourinho’s man-management skills and added that he needs to be put under persistent pressure to avoid falling into the trap of complacency.
“Mourinho doesn’t need to give long speeches,” he continued. “He’s direct and to the point. What he said to me was for my own good. Without regular pressure like that, I can tend to rest on my laurels.”
The France international then remembered two encounters with Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane and former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson before he decided to join Madrid.
“Zidane called me and I asked him to call me back because I was studying for my baccalaureate. It’s my relaxed nature that made me react like that. You have to be carefree to deal with so many things like that at a young age.
“But to be honest, after that call, my mind was elsewhere; it was hard to focus on revising! It was the craziest period of my life.
“I was getting ready for the baccalaureate, the phone was ringing off the hook, I visited the Real facilities, I met Alex Ferguson…Just imagine, I was doing exams and signing autographs for other students. It was surreal. I’m really proud that I passed.”