France defender Varane’s injury ‘less serious than thought’

Manchester United’s France defender Raphael Varane is less seriously injured than feared and still hopes to make the World Cup, a source close to the player told AFP on Sunday.

Varane, 29, left the pitch in tears with a leg injury during United’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Saturday after falling awkwardly in a challenge with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

There were fears the injury could rule him out of the World Cup which kicks off in Qatar on 20 November but the source said a scan on Sunday had been “relatively positive”.

It showed Varane has a small hamstring tear but it is “less serious than feared” and he can “still have hope” of going to Qatar, the source said.

Varane, who has suffered several long-term injury absences during his career, is expected to be out for between three and four weeks, according to reports in France.

France coach Didier Deschamps, who will name his squad on 9 November, is heading into his defence of the World Cup with a host of injury concerns.

N’Golo Kante, Chelsea’s defensive midfielder who was a key part of France’s success four years ago, will definitely miss the tournament with a hamstring injury.

Paul Pogba is a doubt as he is still recovering from knee surgery and AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, the backup to first-choice Hugo Lloris, could be ruled out with a calf injury.

France’s first World Cup group game is against Australia on 22 November before they face Denmark on 26 November and then Tunisia four days later.

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