Varane learning from Real troubles

After a difficult campaign at Real Madrid, Raphael Varane says he has grown as a player through the adversity at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Defender Raphael Varane says the difficulties at Real Madrid this season have helped him improve as a player.

The France international has been a largely peripheral figure at the Santiago Bernabeu as Carlo Ancelotti's side have fallen off the pace in La Liga, thanks partly to Sunday's Clasico defeat at Barcelona.

Varane looked set to become a regular in Real's back line, but, with Sergio Ramos and Pepe often preferred, the 21-year-old has spoken of his desire to make his mark on the team.

"I've played less this season with Madrid, but regularly with the national team, which has helped me not to lose rhythm," Varane told La Voix du Nord ahead of France's friendly with Brazil on Thursday.

"I've participated more in the second half of the campaign, but that was when the team was going through a rough patch.

"But it's during tough times that you learn the most. I'm determined to make my mark within the team.

"It's a goal for me that I try to move forward. When you are at Real, it's a challenge every day but I like that - I need these high goals to keep moving forward."