• Varela at Frankfurt on a season-long loan deal from Man United.
  • Won the U-21 Premier League last season.
  • Ninth Uruguayan to join the Bundesliga ranks.

He has played for the some of the biggest clubs in Montevideo, Manchester and Madrid, but who is new Eintracht Frankfurt defender Guillermo Varela? details the Manchester United FC loanee's back story…

Calling all budding tipsters: the official Bundesliga Predictor is here. Sign up now!

Improvement under Zidane

A native of Uruguayan capital Montevideo, Varela made his senior debut for Club Atletico Penarol in June 2011 after coming up through the club's youth ranks. He joined Manchester United two years later, becoming the first signing of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era under David Moyes.

Varela was unable to make an impression on the first team, however, and spent his debut season in England playing for the Manchester United reserves. Still on the fringes of the squad a year later, it was whilst on loan at Real Madrid Castilla in 2014/15 that the Uruguayan enjoyed a much-needed personal breakthrough.

"[Zinedine] Zidane taught us to have respect, solidarity and to work hard," Varela recalled of his time in the Real Madrid reserves. "We had an excellent year and we learned several things. I feel I improved quickly as a footballer under his guidance."

The Uruguayan (c.) played under Zinedine Zidane in the Real Madrid reserves in 2014/15. © gettyimages

Under-21 Premier League champion

A more rounded player for the Madridista experience, Varela returned to his parent club, eventually making his first-team debut in a goalless draw with West Ham United in December 2015. Ten starts followed, including one in the 3-2 defeat to VfL Wolfsburg in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

"The Wolfsburg game gave me a kind of inner calm to say that I could compete at the level of the Champions League," Varela explained. "After being in the squad a few times and then featuring in a number of games, you start to feel that you are capable of turning out in the starting eleven and performing at the level the team requires, but I need to keep working hard. I can't start believing that I've arrived because that's clearly not the case."

Indeed, no sooner had Varela's appetite for regular first-team football been whetted when he was relegated to the Manchester United reserves again. He did score the winning goal against Tottenham Hotspur FC, though, which helped the Red Devils clinch the Barclays Under-21 Premier League title for the third time in four years.

Varela (c.) won the Under-21 Premier League title with Man United last season. © gettyimages

Blank Frankfurt canvas

Varela's celebrated strike at Tottenham's White Hart Lane encapsulates him as a player perfectly. Like so many South American full-backs, the 23-year-old comes into his own when on the prowl in opposition territory. He likes to get balls into the box and is not afraid to have a go at goal from range himself. He is also diligent and quick - two qualities that should serve him particularly well in defence when faced with Bundesliga tricksters such as FC Bayern München's Douglas Costa and Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus.

A lot can happen in ten months, but with the slate wiped clean at Frankfurt following their relegation play-off scare at the end of 2015/16, Varela - at the club on a season-long loan deal - is in the ideal place to make a genuine play for regular first-team football. "He is very serious and professional," Real Madrid head coach Zidane once said of his former reserve-team pupil. "He also has a lot of quality and I have no doubts he will make it to the top."

With that ringing endorsement at the back of his mind, all Varela has to do now is impress Eintracht boss Niko Kovac.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge