'He's been tremendous': Rio Ferdinand says he absolutely loves the way £29m Chelsea player has been performing

Rio Ferdinand has waxed lyrical about Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger after naming him in his Team of the Year for 2021.

Rudiger, who cost the Blues £29million in 2017, has just come off the back of a stunning calendar year.

The Germany international was almost faultless in a Chelsea shirt in 2021 with Thomas Tuchel as his manager to guide him and was an important part in the group that won the Champions League in May.

Aged 28, the centre-back is at the peak of his powers in defence. He’s still a dominant figure as the left-sided centre-half in a back three, which is why it’s alarming for everyone at Stamford Bridge that his contract expires in the summer.

Rudiger’s contract situation has been heavily speculated about for months, with latest claims suggesting there is no rush from him to sign pre-contract agreements with interested clubs. As it stands, he’ll become a free agent at the end of the season.

Pundit Ferdinand has explained how much he admires the way the Chelsea colossus has been performing.

“Since Thomas Tuchel’s come in he’s been the best defender around,” Ferdinand said.

“Aggressive, dominates, demands from others. The crowd feed off the way he plays. I think he’s been tremendous.

“That element of a new contract has focused him as well… Whoever gets him for the next couple of years has got a great, solid player who I think the other players feed off.”

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Rudiger aggression vital for Chelsea

Yes, Rudiger’s a technically sound defender who’s good with the ball at his feet. Also, he’s possesses great athleticism, experience and leadership.

However, the aggression he plays the game with is arguably his greatest strength.

There is so much to admire about his full-blooded tackles that excites supporters, as well as the fact he won’t shy away from any physical battle against any opponent.

He’s got the kind of mindset you usually require to win trophies.

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.