Rio Ferdinand didn’t hold back in his admiration for Antonio Rudiger following his ruthless recent form for Chelsea, speaking on Rio Ferdinand Presents Five.
Rediscovering Rudiger has been one of Thomas Tuchel’s finest achievements since being appointed Blues boss in January.
Bringing him back from the wasteland that Frank Lampard left him now looks like a stroke of genius.
The German international’s only omissions have been against Everton in the Premier League and last weekends FA Cup win over Sheffield United.
Other than that, Rudiger’s position within the Blues back-line hasn’t altered.
From one current defender to a former, Ferdinand was completely in awe of how well the Chelsea man had been performing under Tuchel.
And he suggested that proving Lampard wrong is clearly a key motivation for the powerful centre-back.
He said: “I watched Rudiger against Leeds United and in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid. He wasn’t playing under Frank for whatever reason.
“But the intensity of which he’s playing at right now is what you need to be top player.
“The level he’s been playing at over the last few weeks has been amazing. You can see there’s a desire in him.
“Almost as if he’s using the fuel of Franks regime, not using him or trusting him, as a method now to show people.
“You can see it. He is screaming at players. He makes a block then gets up and gets up into the face of the attacker.
“That’s an individual thing and everyone uses it in their own way. I used him as an example because I was there the other day and I witnessed it and I was like ‘woah, he is on it.’
“He isn’t getting beat by anyone at the moment the way he is on it and the way he’s concentrating.”
Things could’ve been very different for Rudiger of course.
In a press conference, the 28-year-old admitted that he had been approached by Paris Saint Germain and Jose Mourinho last September.
PSG at that time was coached by Tuchel, who had been a fan of the central defender for a while.
Rudiger remained at Stamford Bridge and probably counted his blessing when he saw Tuchel walking through the front doors at Cobham.