Rapahel Varane was one of the pillars of the French defense in their World Cup triumph, playing 90 minutes in each of France's fixtures and scoring a beautiful header in the quarterfinal against Uruguay.
Coupled with another successful season for Real Madrid culminating in their third consecutive Champions League title, his performances have naturally led to comparisons with Los Blancos captain Sergio Ramos.
In an extensive interview with L'Equipe, Varane has addressed comparisons with club teammate Ramos, stating that it 'drives him mad':
"It drives me mad when they ask me to be like Sergio Ramos. Do they ask him to be like another player? They accept him just the way he is, he's Ramos. And nowadays it's accepted and understood that I'm the way I am.
"They sometimes ask me to play like [Sergio] Ramos, to be more aggressive, to be this way or that way. I have my own style and it's worked for me up until now. They've tried to change me many times."
It takes special character and personality to win 16 titles over such a short career, Varane explains: "Since I was seven years old they said I was a good kid. But there's always been a personality behind that. Yes, I'm friendly, but it's not just that. You can't do what I've done at Real Madrid for seven years without having character.
"When there's a need for someone to speak, I'm there. When there's tough times, I'm there. In the World Cup final at the half there was a lot of pressure being such a young group, and I said: 'Guys, let's be positive, we're winning 2-1, everything is OK. The first 45 moments are past us.'"
Varane wasn't the only Frenchman to impress during the World Cup finals. Kylian Mbappe's performances throughout the campaign were paramount to France's eventual triumph, leading to Varane describing the youngster as an 'alien': "I've met some aliens, but it's the first time I've seen such a young one! When I talk to him about tactics, he doesn't let me finish the sentences. He understands everything so quickly."
Thanks to their World Cup performance and regular season honors, both Varane and Mbappe have been cited as potential Ballon d'Or winners.
On whether he could win the award dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo since 2008, the French international stated:
"I see football as a team sport, I'm not looking for the spotlight. But if there's a chance to win the Ballon d'Or, I'm not going to say no. It depends on the criteria...if it's given on the basis of achievements, then I'm well positioned, but it's very difficult for a defender."