‘Incredibly good’: 29-year-old player who left Chelsea in the summer says he loved the club

Antonio Rudiger says he had a wonderful time at Chelsea before joining Real Madrid in the summer.

Speaking to AS, the defender detailed his passion for the Blues that he built up over half a decade.

Rudiger ended his successful stint at Stamford Bridge at the end of last season by joining Carlo Ancelotti at the Bernabeu.

The centre-back confirmed his decision to move to Madrid in June after opting against signing a new contract with Chelsea.

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Tuchel tried to tie down Rudiger

Thomas Tuchel was desperate to keep his German comrade, due to the growth of the player during their tenure together.

Tuchel’s introduction to Cobham in January 2021 sparked a revolutionary rise of Rudiger.

He rather rapidly transformed into one of the Premier League’s finest defensive units.

His priceless contribution helped Chelsea lift the Champions League and reach three more domestic finals.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the German international was the best and most important performer under Graham Potter’s predecessor.

Hence why there was such a clammer for him to stay in South West London, and the resulting disappointment of his departure.

Yet, it seemed the 29-year-old always had desires of donning the famous white jersey of Los Blancos.

“Before, I couldn’t imagine anything because, to be honest, the great dream of my life had always been to play in the Premier,” explained Rudiger.

Photo by Ivan Yordanov/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“I simply thought that Real Madrid was something that would never happen to me. It didn’t enter my head. It was incredibly good at Chelsea.

“And when you finally realize that Madrid loves you, you say: Wow! Suddenly, when you come, everything is great, everything is spectacular…”

Everybody wanted Antonio

Once word got out that Rudiger might not be renewing his deal at Chelsea, there was a great rush from across Europe to seal his signature.

This is testament to his improvement into a genuine world-class outfit.

“Obviously there were more teams, but I only considered it with two, Chelsea and Real Madrid,” he continued when asked about deciding his future.  

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

“In London I worked very hard in the last five years and had an acquired status. It was that, or Madrid.”

Sadly for Chelsea fans, he picked Madrid over the Bridge.

We miss you, Rudi.

"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced 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. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."