In a recent interview with L’Équipe, Raphael Varane, Real Madrid’s former defender and club legend, revealed that he was suffering from a concussion during the second leg of the Champions League round-of-16 clash against Manchester City in 2020.

“During that match I had a concussion,” Varane said. “I felt it from the warm-up, I told myself: ‘wake up’. I almost wanted to slap myself . During the match, my first three balls were technically clean, but I was too slow. I couldn’t concentrate, I was like a spectator. The match went badly for me and, in retrospect, I realized that it was related to the shock I had suffered.

“I have never missed these types of important matches, on the contrary, they are generally the ones in which I manage to be more focused. At first I took the elimination personally , even though collectively we weren’t having a good day. I questioned myself a lot and finally realized that these mistakes had not fallen from the sky.”

He further explained that the concussion was a result of an earlier incident in a match against Getafe about a month before the City game. Varane had to leave the field after receiving a blow to the head from a corner kick.

“During a League match (the match against Getafe), I received a ball on the head from a corner and I had to leave the field . I followed a five-day recovery protocol without much effort. Then we had a few days off and I remember feeling intense tiredness, but I thought it was related to the usual end-of-season decompression.

“When I resumed training, I had not yet recovered from the fatigue linked to the shock I had suffered. I felt out of energy preparing for the Champions League match against Manchester City , but I wasn’t aware that it had anything to do with the knock. Perhaps if I had taken a test to evaluate my recovery capabilities, I would have postponed my recovery and then I could have returned to playing with a normal energy level.”

This revelation sheds light on the challenges faced by athletes dealing with head injuries and underscores the importance of improving concussion management protocols in professional sports.

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