Pepe helped me improve my game: Varane
Madrid: Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane says Pepe has been an invaluable mentor since he joined the club two years ago.
Varane arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu from Lens in 2011 and since has made 25 appearances for the capital club in La Liga.
And the France centre-back says the Portugal star acted as his mentor while trying to break into the first team - even though his own emergence resulted in Pepe dropping to the bench last term.
"One player who gives me a lot of advice at Real is Pepe," the 20-year-old told Fifa.com.
"He’s taught me never to give up. He always gives 100 per cent on the pitch and he tries to instil that winning mentality in me.
The youngster then went on to name France legend Lillian Thuram as an example to follow.
"I watch a lot of players in my position, but if I had to name a role model, I’d say Lillian Thuram because of the way he carried himself on the pitch and everything he did in his career.
Varane feels Paris Saint-German`s Thiago Silva is currently the best centre-back in the world, and he is honoured by recent comparisons with the Brazil star.
"He`s the number one in my position right now so it’s very flattering.
"I don’t like comparisons much but I am a similar kind of player to him in the way that I bring the ball out and defend, though we don’t have quite the same style."
Varane is currently preparing for his country`s last World Cup qualifier against Finland on Tuesday after returning to fitness following a knee injury.