Boateng claims Chelsea player is one of the top five defenders in the world

Jerome Boateng claimed that Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger is currently the finest German defender around and one of the best in the world.

Speaking to Spox, the current Lyon centre-back put his fellow countryman on the highest pedestal possible.

It is hard to argue against placing anyone above Rudiger in the Die Mannschaft defensive rankings.

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Not to mention across the continent, where few have performed more consistently and confidently in the last 12 months than the 28-year-old.

Chelsea’s Champions League triumph may never have occurred had Thomas Tuchel not raised the former Roma man from his ruins.

Sadly, the Stamford Bridge centurion looks set to fight his battles elsewhere, as the issues with contract extensions continue to run their course.

Toni at the top

If Rudiger does leave the Blues next year, he will depart with a lot of supporters singing his name.

His backing spreads far and wide, from London to Lyon.

“Toni Rudiger,” said Boateng when asked to pick out one defender from the German camp.

“We’re good friends and talk a lot. I’m really happy for him that he has developed so well at Chelsea. 

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“When you remember where he was a year ago. Sometimes bench, sometimes grandstand and now he’s absolutely set and plays at a world-class level because he believed in himself and stayed patient. 

“For me he is currently the best German defender – and definitely in the top five in his position in Europe.”

Boateng’s boots to fill

For such a long time, this last statement directly related to Boateng himself.

The nine-time Bundesliga champion with Bayern Munich was voted Germany’s Footballer of the Year in 2015/16.

Now at Lyon, the 33-year-old has passed on the torch to his compatriot, who could well be taking his place at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern are said to be one of the many interested parties chasing Rudiger’s signature, should he leave Chelsea in the summer.

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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.