David Alaba has revealed that he is eager to play alongside Manchester United-linked centre-back Raphael Varane after completing his long-awaited switch to Real Madrid.
Alaba was officially unveiled at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday after signing for the Blancos on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract with Bayern Munich.
The Austria international has committed to a five-year deal with Real, and now hopes to get the chance to form a strong partnership with Varane, whose own future has been the subject of much debate in recent weeks.
What's been said?
Varane is reportedly eager to take up a new challenge in the Premier League with United, who have been tipped to launch a formal offer for the World Cup winner in the coming days.
Real may be forced to cash in on Varane with his current contract due to expire in 2022, but Alaba wants to see him remain at the Bernabeu after years of admiring the centre-half from afar.
"Of course I would love to play with Varane," Alaba said during his unveiling on Wednesday. "For many years he has played excellent football and not just now.
"He is a wonderful defender and has great qualities."
Alaba inherits Ramos' No.4 jersey
Alaba has been handed the No.4 jersey that Sergio Ramos made his own during his trophy-laden 16-year spell on Real's books and, although he is honoured to be following in the club legend's footsteps, he says he wants to carve out his own legacy in the Spanish capital.
"They only had this number available but I know what this number means for the club," he said. "For me, it's an honour to wear it. I want to honour this number. It really motivates me. It's a number that represents strength and leadership.
"I haven't come here to compare myself to other players. I've come here to be Alaba and to continue to be Alaba. I want to bring my qualities to this team. I'm a versatile player. I can play in different positions.
"Ramos has been here more than a decade and has played great football and is a leader. We all know that. It would have been a pleasure to have played with him."
Alaba explains decision to join Real
Alaba went on to reiterate that he turned down a number of other offers in favour of joining Real, with a man who won two European Cups and 10 league titles in 13 years at Bayern now looking forward to opening the next chapter of his career in Spain.
"I decided to take another step in my career to grow as a player and as a person," said Alaba. "Of course I received other offers but, for me, there was only one option and that was Real Madrid. This is a dream come true.
"It's the biggest club in the world and that is the challenge I was looking for."
Alaba also expressed his regret over not getting the chance to play under Zinedine Zidane following his resignation at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, but says he is delighted to have reunited with the Frenchman's replacement Carlo Ancelotti, who managed Bayern 2016-17.
"I was saddened that Zidane left the club but on the other hand, I was very happy that Ancelotti took over," Alaba said. "We have an excellent relationship, having worked with him at Bayern."