Antonio Rudiger Makes Chelsea Transfer Revelation And Names His ‘Untouchable’ Real Madrid Legend
Antonio Rudiger says he would not have left Chelsea for any other club than Real Madrid this summer – and the German star has opened up on the conflicting emotions he felt during the Champions League quarter-final meeting between the two sides last season.
Rudiger arrived at Stamford Bridge from Roma in the summer of 2017 but it wasn’t until Thomas Tuchel’s appointment as Chelsea head coach that he blossomed into one of European football’s standout central defenders.
Rudiger’s hugely impressive turnaround left Chelsea in a difficult position.
Talks were held over a new deal and Rudiger was offered a contract in excess of £200,000 a week by the previous Blues hierarchy.
It was an offer that would have made Rudiger the best-paid defender in the club’s history but one that was not accepted.
After Chelsea were forced to operate under the sanctions imposed on ex-owner Roman Abramovich following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Blues were unable to hold further negotiations.
“There were only two options for me: either I stay at Chelsea or I go to Real. Germany was not a serious prospect,” Rudiger explained in an interview with German outlet Sport1 while away on international duty this week.
“At the end of April, it became really concrete. But before everything was clear, my brother fooled me a bit. We played with Chelsea against Real in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
After the first-leg defeat, he suddenly said to me: ‘Toni, I don’t know if this will still work. In the second leg, you have to show everything so that the change works.’ My head was shattered, but that spurred me on.”
Chelsea suffered a 3-1 defeat in that first leg to Real and few gave Tuchel’s side much chance of overcoming Los Blancos at the Bernabeu.
“After Timo Werner made it 3-0, I thought: They’re gone,” said Rudiger.
“No other team had Real on their hands like we did – in their own stadium, ten minutes before the end. I then speculated the fans would go a little against their team and whistle.”
The German international has had to be patient thus far starting only four of Real’s nine matches in all competitions.
He has already developed a good relationship with Carlo Ancelotti, the legendary Italian coach who guided Real to the Champions League last season and won the double during his two seasons in charge of Chelsea more than a decade ago.
Rudiger has discussed how the 63-year-old bonds with his players.
“I had only been in our new house with my family for a few hours – we were just barbecuing – and the doorbell suddenly rang. I opened it and Carlo Ancelotti was just standing in front of me. A wow moment,” Rudiger said.
“I’ll be honest, I’ve never experienced anything like it, no coach has ever done something like that for me. After the few months with him, I have to say: When it comes to dealing with players, Ancelotti is untouchable.
Stop Don Carlo, a coaching legend – he already collected Champions League titles when I was a child. Working with him every day now and at the most successful club in the world is wonderful.”