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Young defender is man of the match in El Clasico
by Samuel Charles, January 30th, 2013 11:26PM

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[VIDEO PICK: Great D] Raphael Varane a 19-year-old French defender was the best player on the field in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semifinal match that included multiple world champions and all three Ballon d'Or finalists.

Things heated up at the Bernabeu in Madrid when Cesc Fabregas put Barcelona ahead to start the second half, but the 6-foot-3 Varane skied over Fabregas and Gerard Pique in the 81st minute giving Real Madrid a 1-1 tie heading into the second leg in Barcelona on Feb. 27.

It has been a tumultuous year for Real Madrid, but Varane has been a bright spot, and these next two plays show not only did the young defender tie this game at the end --- he’s the only reason it was close.

A poor back pass to new goalkeeper Diego Lopez in the first 24th minute leads to a sure goal for Xavi, but Varane races back and calmly clears his line …




Here the lanky defender chases down Fabregas, who’s in on goal with Madrid losing 1-0, and the youngster makes a do-or-die tackle in the box ...



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