Manchester United's Raphael Varane and Casemiro have proven Liverpool and Man City fans wrong – Manchester Evening News

Man United signed Raphael Varane and Casemiro from Real Madrid and many suggested the pair were past their best.
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When Raphael Varane signed for Manchester United, rival fans said it was because he'd already peaked and was injury prone.
When Casemiro signed for Manchester United, rival supporters suggested he only joined for large wages in his declining years.
Both of those players, who were sold by Real Madrid for a combined fee of around £100million over the last two summers, have been world-class this season and those accusations from fans of Liverpool and Man City have looked increasingly stupid.
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Although Varane did not enjoy an outstanding first year in Manchester, with only two players, David de Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo, emerging from that disastrous campaign with real credit, it was undeniable that United were stronger when he played.
United managed just eight clean sheets in the Premier League last season and Varane played in five of those matches. He showed glimmers of his quality in his first year at the club but they've now become sustained with Erik ten Hag in charge.
Varane has benefited from playing alongside Lisandro Martinez and United have conceded just 20 goals in the league. That is the fifth-best defensive record and it would look even better if not for the Brentford debacle and 6-3 defeat against City.
Casemiro had yet to swap the Bernabeu for Old Trafford prior to that embarrassing defeat against Brentford, but that performance did not deter him from talks. It had the opposite effect and made the confident midfielder relish the challenge ahead instead.
Although it was no secret that a defensive midfielder had long been needed at the club, the difference Casemiro has made has been remarkable. He remains the best in his position in the world and he certainly looks far from a player that's in decline.
Casemiro is thriving in Manchester and he 'gets' what the club means to supporters. His passion after scoring a late equaliser at Stamford Bridge in October endeared him to the fanbase and his outstanding performances have strengthened that feeling.
The 30-year-old also embraced two supporters at the Stretford End after Marcus Rashford's winning goal in the Manchester derby on Saturday afternoon, as he screamed to the crowd in joy. The expression on his face was not of that of a mercenary.
Ten Hag has helped to build a connection between his team and supporters and Casemiro has been key in that. United would not be winning as many games without him and it is staggering to think Scott McTominay initially kept him out of the team.
McTominay was excellent following Casemiro's arrival but the cream will always rise to the top. Casemiro seems to cover every blade of grass, he's imperious in duels and he provides a level of cover to his defenders that every manager dreams of.
He's been a sensational signing and he celebrated with Varane, his old teammate in Madrid, on the pitch after the 2-1 victory against City. The pair won countless major honours together in Spain and they're now spearheading Ten Hag's revolution.
Varane and Casemiro are enjoying excellent seasons and they are proving the rival fans wrong who doubted them.
Real Madrid rarely let elite players leave but it seems like they have done that twice in consecutive summers.
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