Centre-back had been a key area Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to strengthen this summer, and Varane’s arrival means United will be viewed as serious title contenders to Premier League champions Manchester City.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure one of the best defenders in the world over the last 10 years. Raphael is a proven winner who we have tracked over a long period of time and we know just how much of a dedicated professional he is.”
Varane leaves the Santiago Bernabeu after a trophy-laden decade, a haul that included four Champions League titles.
The announcement of his move to United was greeted with initial surprise in some quarters, with few expecting the France international to seriously contemplate leaving Madrid.
The exit of Sergio Ramos to PSG on a free transfer plus the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as manager pointed to Varane potentially becoming Real’s key centre-back this season, but he decided to move on.
“Manchester United is one of the most iconic clubs in world football and the chance to come here and play in the Premier League is something I couldn’t turn down,” Varane said.
“I want to make an impact here and I will give everything to become part of this club’s illustrious history.”
The fact that Varane only had one year left on his contract likely played into Real’s thinking, with the Spanish giants unwilling to lose the World Cup winner for free next summer.