In an exclusive letter written for L’Équipe, French international central defender Raphaël Varane wrote to his teammates, with the Real Madrid man unfortunately excluded from EURO 2016 due to injury. In full.
“I have long dreamed of the evening of June 10th at the Stade de France. The pressure that rises a few hours before kick-off. The chatter, warming up, the final moments of concentration in the dressing room, the national anthems, the kick-off of this opening game against Romania that we need to win because this European Championship is our own, we have been preparing for months.
It hurts me very, very much, not to be by your side. But I am not writing to complain and I certainly am not asking you to share my pain. Rather, I wish to send you good vibes, to tell you that I believe in you. I must admit that it makes me feel funny, I am so used to being with you on a daily basis.
The French team is a bubble that protects us. When you’re on the inside, there is a tendency to take offence to a little criticism from outside, to retain only the negative. What is important lies elsewhere. Love for the French national team exists. You know it but I want to confirm it…
Be proud of that passion that you can elicit. You have a huge chance that to give happiness to a whole country, you do the best job in the world. How many children tonight are waiting for you to make them dream? Thousands. Tens of thousands. Millions. Being a member of the French national team, is not only about playing for one team but also for the whole country.
I know that you are capable of the best. I believe in you. Your family and friends as well. For them, for all who support you, you have to show character, determination, you have to give the best of yourself, challenge yourself. Remember the beautiful moments we spent together since the play-off against Ukraine in November 2013.
I would like to give you a date when we meet again, on 10th July for the final. But I also think that your greatest strength will be to just live by day to day, to enjoy the moment. Rather than letting your head to run away with what might happen, focus daily on what you will do to get where you want go. Tonight, I will not be on the pitch but my heart beats for you, with you. COME ON FRANCE!!!”
Thank you for the beautiful, yet, emotional words, Varane. Tonight, we play for you! ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!