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Guillermo Varela returns to Uruguay, leaving Manchester United after four years at the club

The first signing of the David Moyes era, Guillermo Varela has left Manchester United following an unsuccessful loan spell in Germany at Eintracht Frankfurt. The Uruguayan is to rejoin his former club Penarol.

Varela made 11 appearances for Manchester United and went out on loan to both Real Madrid Castilla and Eintracht Frankfurt during his four-year spell at the club.

The Uruguayan right-back was used regularly by Louis van Gaal in the second half of the 2015/16 season. He starred in the 5-1 Europa League victory against FC Midtjylland, the game famously known for being Marcus Rashford’s debut and then again three days later in the 3-2 win over Arsenal in February 2016.

Against Midtjylland, Varela crossed in for Juan Mata to set up Rashford’s first goal and then registered an assist to give United the advantage in the tie. Varela set up Rashford’s second goal on the night, pulling the ball back for the debutant to slot home.

Three days later, again at Old Trafford, Varela played a key part in the Premier League win over Arsenal. A depleted United side starting with youngsters, Marcus Rashford and Varela himself, plus Michael Carrick at centre-back, put in potentially the best performance of the van Gaal era to beat a then title challenging Arsenal side. Rashford scored from a Varela cross that caused an error from Gabriel to give the Reds the lead.

However, the game that spelled the end of Varela’s involvement under Louis van Gaal came in the Europa League Last 16 tie against Liverpool. The Uruguayan let fellow South American Coutinho glide past him to chip David de Gea, effectively ending all chance of Manchester United going through to the Quarter-Finals.

In all Varela made just four Premier League appearances for Manchester United. It was in the U21’s Premier League in which the right-back featured most in a red shirt. He scored the title clinching goal with a fantastic strike at White Hart Lane in 2016. United won 3-2 with Varela’s fantastic goal coming in the 94th minute.

On his arrival, Jose Mourinho decided to loan out Varela to Eintracht Frankfurt. A loan move to the Bundesliga should have provided Varela a good level to test himself in a top European league against opposition like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Promisingly, following a long-term injury absence that kept the right-back out of the squad until February 2017, Varela had established himself back in the first team. The Uruguayan made 10 appearances for the side that finished 11th in the Bundesliga.

Then Varela made a mistake which cost him a chance of a potential return to Frankfurt. The Uruguayan ignored the orders of his manager, Niko Kovač, and got a tattoo just days before the DFB Pokal (German Cup) Final against Dortmund. The tattoo got infected and Varela was suspended by the club.

A Frankfurt club statement on the matter read:

“Guillermo’s path with Eintracht is over following this action. The club cannot tolerate a player defying the coach and doctors before such an important game.

 “This behaviour is grossly negligent and hurts the entire team. We had already thought about a possible extension of the loan. This is no longer a matter of course.”

 Now returning to his homeland in South America, rejoining Penarol, Varela will be hoping to recapture the form that persuaded Manchester United to sign him back in 2014.

Written by Ben Lyons

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