Varane wants to avoid Barcelona in Champions League
Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane is hoping not to be paired with Barcelona in Friday's Champions League quarter-final draw.
The two LaLiga rivals secured relatively serene progress from the last 16, double defending champions Madrid seeing off Paris Saint-Germain 5-2 on aggregate, while Barca's 3-0 win over Chelsea at Camp Nou on Wednesday secured a 4-1 victory over two legs.
Joining them in the pot are Manchester City, Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Sevilla - a line-up that promises to throw up some blockbuster ties.
But France international Varane hopes that Madrid-Barcelona is not one of them, while the defender is also keen to avoid Vincenzo Montella's Sevilla outfit, conquerors of Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
"I prefer that it is not a Spanish team," Varane told Cadena SER.
"The Champions League is about knowing another type of football, other teams. If we do not touch a Spanish team, all the better."
When asked on the prospect of a Madrid-Barca final, Varane responded: "It would be nice, wouldn't it?"
The quarter-final line-up is complete!
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 14, 2018
Having fallen 15 points behind Barca with only 10 matches to go, Madrid's disappointing LaLiga form has prompted suggestions that head coach Zinedine Zidane's future could be in doubt, despite the Frenchman chasing a third straight European crown, and Varane feels his compatriot has been unfairly treated.
"Yes. First, for what he has done, which is spectacular. And for what he continues to do and is doing," Varane said.
"For example, we won against PSG and that changed things. But before PSG, he did things well too and we are always with him. It's the world of football. A lot of demand, little patience and little memory. We in the dressing room remain calm.
"With what he has done as a player, as a coach... it is as if he had never done anything, [his aim is] always to improve. He is an example as a person, as the player he was, at the mentality level.
"For me he is a top trainer and we all learn a lot from him."