Raphael Varane not leaving Real Madrid, says 'best is still ahead of me'

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane says he has no desire to leave the Santiago Bernabeu despite a decrease in playing time.

Varane did not see the pitch as often once Zinedine Zidane replaced Rafael Benitez as Madrid coach in January, with the new boss selecting Pepe instead.

The 23-year-old had been linked to a move earlier this summer, but Jose Mourinho has since signed a centre-back in Eric Bailly, and Marca reported last week that Varane rejected a move to Old Trafford.

And Varane told a news conference that he has no intention of switching clubs.

"Yes, I want to stay here this year. I think everything is here for me to continue my progression," he said.

"I feel loved by the club and by the fans who have always treated me almost like a youth product.

"The best players are here, everything is here for me to keep improving and I'm really enthusiastic about improving. The best is still ahead of me."

Varane said he had assurances from Zidane and club officials that he still had a productive future ahead of him at the Bernabeu.

"In life you take decisions, I spoke with the club, I spoke with Zizou and I trust that I'm going to keep improving here and the best of me is still to come," he said.

"In life you take decisions and I've chosen to stay here because I want to be here and I want to be in Madrid."

A hamstring injury prevented Varane from playing in both the Champions League final and Euro 2016 with France, but the defender said he is now looking forward.

"Finishing the season without playing in the Champions League final and the European Championship is difficult for me, it's true," he said.

"But I want to leave it behind me, I want to move forward and I think that I can keep improving. I love being at a club like Real Madrid, I want to stay here and for a long time."