PARIS — France defender Raphael Varane announced his retirement from the national team on Thursday, the second major player to leave Les Bleus following the World Cup final defeat to Argentina.

The 29-year-old Varane made his debut 10 years ago and played 93 times. He was arguably the tournament's standout defender when France won the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

But he fell to the ground exhausted deep into extra time against Argentina in Qatar last December. France lost the final on penalty kicks after a 3-3 draw.

“Representing our magnificent country for a decade has been one of the greatest honors in my life. Every time I wore the blue jersey I felt an immense pride," Varane wrote on his Instagram page. "The duty of giving everything, of playing with my heart and of winning every time I stepped onto the field. I've been thinking about this for a few months and I've decided it's the right time for me to take my international retirement.”

Last month, goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris quit the national team after a record 145 appearances.

France coach Didier Deschamps must rebuild the team without two of his most consistent players heading toward next year's European Championship.


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