Antonio Rudiger has revealed that he was taken aback when Thomas Tuchel was released by Chelsea.

Speaking to the Guardian, Rudiger explained that he felt a sharp pang of sorrow for his former manager, who helped rebuild the Blues into a dominate European force again.

Tuchel’s sacking in September came a shock to pretty much everyone associated with Stamford Bridge.

Photo by Luka Stanzl/Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

After just seven games into the season, Chelsea had won three, drawn once and lost another trio of fixtures.

But the last of the defeats was the final nail in the coffin.

Dinamo Zagreb’s 1-0 win in the Champions League gave Todd Boehly enough reason to fire the man in the dugout.

This sudden turn of events was magnified by the fact Boehly had thoroughly backed Tuchel in the summer transfer market to transform the team.

No fewer than seven new names arrived in South West London, for a combined total of £278m.

Chelsea also cleared out some of the dead weight to make room for the latest arrivals.

Chelsea cut ties with Thomas

Once the window closed, the squad had a more Tuchel-feel to it.

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Hence the enraged reaction from many fans and players alike following his unexpected exit.

“It hit me. What he achieved in the club, even if it was under the old regime, it was a shock. He gets players that he wants and then all of a sudden he’s gone,” professed Rudiger

Supporters formed a special bond with the German coach, a connection that hasn’t really been prevalent since arguably the days of Jose Mourinho.

He also vastly improved the side, developing the likes of Rudiger into one of the world’s best in his position.  

“But it’s Chelsea. It’s also somehow not a surprise. I messaged him and said: ‘Thank you very much for everything you did.’ Not only for me but for all of us. Without him winning the Champions League was a bit far away,” continued the Real Madrid defender.

Rudiger reformed by Tuchel

The centre-back was arguably the main beneficiary of Tuchel’s tenure in charge.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

His evolvement into the finest defensive enforcer across Europe must be credited to the man who oversaw the change.

Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovacic and Reece James amongst others can also make a decent argument for being upgraded by their ex-boss.

With the state Chelsea are in now, Boehly might be wishing he never ripped up Tuchel’s contract in the first place.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.