'Not a good sign’: Tuchel really surprised by interaction he had with Chelsea player before training recently

Thomas Tuchel confessed he feared for the worst when Antonio Rudiger came to his office personally to detail his departure from Chelsea.

As quoted by The Athletic, Tuchel admitted feeling uneasy the second his fellow countryman stepped foot into his private room at Cobham.

He had every right to have a knot in his stomach, as the resulting conversation wasn’t one about tactics.

Rudiger explained to the Chelsea manager his desire to leave Stamford Bridge, following unsuccessful contract talks with the board.

This message was then relayed to the media on Sunday shortly after the narrow 1-0 victory over West Ham United.

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A media storm ensued, specifying the pointers of the centre-back’s transfer to Real Madrid as a free agent in the summer.

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Tuchel talks to Rudiger

Joining the Spanish side always looked like a serious possibility, but to actually hear it allowed and see it written down takes some getting used to.

Especially from a Chelsea fan perspective, as they prepare to lose one of their cult heroes.

But also spare a thought for Tuchel, who must now plan for life without arguably his best defender.

“When Toni knocks on your door an hour before training, it is not a good sign,” said the German coach.

“He usually grabs you in between and tells you that he needs to tell you something.

“So when he knocks before training, everybody was like ‘Oh no, come on, it’s not looking good.’

“Then we had this brief conversation. First of all, I appreciated that he came, that he told me as one of the first (people to know).

“That shows me we have a relationship where we address things directly and honestly, and are not unafraid to tell each other what we think.”

“You ask me maybe what I did to convince him, Toni is not a guy you need to take out for 10 dinners and 12 coffees to talk him into something.

Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

“He has strong opinions, that is a part of his personality, he demands clarity and honesty and of course trust.”

A Real shame

Whatever Tuchel could’ve or should’ve said, it probably wouldn’t have done much to change Rudiger’s mind.

Both are aware of their importance to one another, but this matter isn’t purely a footballing one.

This is more a financial issue, one that is clearly out of the manager’s control.

In a nutshell, Rudiger wanted a significant pay rise, one that Chelsea were unwilling to meet.

Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images

Obviously, the process of appointing a new owner has not helped the situation in the slightest.

Instead, Madrid have seemingly opened their bank and offered the 29-year-old what he desires.

As long as Antonio signs off with a FA Cup winners medal, we can’t begrudge him too much.

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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.