IT’S FAIR to say Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane had a night to forget against Manchester City.
The French defender – who many regard as one of the best centre-backs in world football – produced two huge errors to allow Raheem Sterling and then Gabriel Jesus to score during a 2-1 defeat.
After just nine minutes Varane was dispossessed in his own penalty area by Gabriel Jesus, who teed up Raheem Sterling for an easy tap-in.
Karim Benzema did equalise for Real before half-time to give Zinedine Zidane’s side hope of progressing to the quarter-finals.
But that hope was extinguished with a little more than 20 minutes remaining as Varane missed a header, then saw his attempted header back to Thibaut Courtois latched onto by Jesus, who slotted it home.
There was no way back for the visitors who went on to lose 4-2 on aggregate.
Varana probably wanted the ground to swallow him up and hide.
But he did the exact opposite at full-time.
Varane put himself forward to a host of interviews so he could apologise for his terrible mistakes that saw Real crash out of the competition.
“I want to step up tonight,” Varane said. “This defeat is my fault. All mine.
“I have to accept that. I am sorry for my teammates and all the efforts they put in. This defeat is my responsibility.
“We played well. We prepared for the match well, but like I said errors are costly at this level.”
You’ve really got to feel for him.
While Varane blamed himself, his manager refused to throw him under the bus.
“We will tell Varane, keep your head up,” Zidane 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.”
(COMPILED BY GIVEMESPORT)