Raphael Varane joined a host of his Real Madrid teammates in recent weeks by signing a five-year contract extension to 2022 on Wednesday.
“Real Madrid C. F. and Varane have agreed to extend the player’s contract, which will see him remain at the club until 30 June 2022,” the Spanish giants said in a statement.
Marcelo, Isco and Dani Carvajal have also extended their deals to 2022 over the past fortnight, whilst Karim Benzema signed on till 2021 as Real reward key members of the squad that became the first side to retain the Champions League trophy in June.
A new contract for coach Zinedine Zidane is also imminent with the Frenchman repeatedly stating his deal is “done”, although no official announcement has yet been made.
Then in a previous role as a club adviser, Zidane played a key role in bringing Varane to Madrid as an 18-year-old back in 2011 from Lens.
The Frenchman has since blossomed into vital player for club and country making 196 appearances in total for Madrid.
Varane has won 13 trophies in his time at the Bernabeu, including three Champions League and two La Liga titles.
This season he has fully established himself as a first team regular alongside club captain Sergio Ramos at the heart of the Madrid defence following the departure of veteran Portuguese international Pepe.
A day after receiving a standing ovation from his former fans, Marcos Llorente became the latest player to commit his future to Real Madrid by signing a contract extension until the summer of 2021.
The aggressive central midfielder shot to prominence last season with an outstanding season on loan at Alaves, which was enough to convince Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane to bring him back to the Bernabeu on a permanent basis.
This weekend Llorente was given a taste of action as a late substitute in his team’s 2-1 victory at Alaves, whose fans remembered the excellent work he had produced on their behalf last season with a rousing round of applause when he entered the field.
A few hours later Llorente’s enjoyable weekend continued as he put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension at the Bernabeu, and he admitted he had been touched to receive such heartfelt recognition from Alaves fans.
“They chanted my name and it was incredible to get that reception,” he beamed. “I had a great year with Alaves and I am very grateful. Going there and playing many games did me the world of good.”
Now, though, Llorente is focussed on establishing himself as a regular member of Zidane’s team, with his ability to provide cover and competition for Casemiro theoretically putting him in a great position to benefit from the coach’s rotation policy.
“It is difficult to get minutes here and I didn’t arrive with a set idea of how many minutes I wanted to play,” he said. “I just want to grow and take advantage of the chances the coach gives me.”
Llorente also revealed he has received some clear and direct advice from Zidane, who clearly wants the young midfielder to keep things simple and help out in the defensive aspects of the game.
“Zidane has just asked me to do what I did at Alaves,” he said. “Keep running, defend and attack, and work hard in training.
“I can’t wait to grow with this club but I know I must be patient. I am young and there is strong competition here.”
Zinedine Zidane has called for patience as Real Madrid battle to climb out of an early-season slump.
Real bounced back from their shock 1-0 home defeat to Real Betis by edging home 2-1 at Alaves, with Dani Ceballos firing a brace on his LaLiga debut for the club.
Madrid still struggled however, coming under intense pressure as Alfonso Pedraza hit a post twice in the second half, to add to Manu Garcia’s bullet header.
Despite his side’s patchy form of just three wins in six league matches this term, Zidane still insists Real are on the rise.
“There has to be patience. It’s not a brilliant time for us, but we have to accept it,” said Zidane.
“I’m certain that we’ll have a better performance next time.
“We know that it’s difficult wherever we go, Alaves needed the points. They had a good game.
“I’m satisfied and so can everyone be because we got what we wanted, the three points.
“I won’t single anything out in particular, but we got the three points and we’ll have much better days, especially in terms of our performance, but you have to congratulate the players.
“Playing every three days ultimately requires a big effort, so we can be happy.
“Two goals aren’t many for all the chances we had, but the important thing was to win.”
Ceballos had reportedly been frustrated to remain an unused substitute in Real’s 1-0 home loss to his old club Betis on Wednesday night.
The 21-year-old vented any lingering annoyance in fine fashion with his brace at Alaves, however, leaving Zidane purring.
“He’s ready to play, he did very well, and both of his goals make me happy,” said Zidane.
“The goals aside, he did very well, played very well and I’m happy for him because he’s a lad who wants to learn, and he’ll get more chances. We got the three points thanks to him.
“I’m happy for Dani, he’s done well. He had a great game and showed that he was worthy of being here.”
Cristiano Ronaldo drew a blank in front of goal, hitting a post with a curling effort, but Zidane insists the Portugal talisman remains calm despite recent frustrations.
“When he doesn’t score, you ask about him, but he’s calm,” said Zidane.
“He wants to score and had chances to do so. Ultimately, like always, he’ll make the difference.
“He likes his position and we can play in different formations. He was our only striker against Alaves, but we can change things on Tuesday.”