Antonio Rudiger has claimed in an interview with SPORT1 that the Champions League quarter-final second leg was a game where he gave everything to impress future club Real Madrid.
The Blues had been drawn against Carlo Ancelotti’s side in their quest to defend the European trophy, and had the upmost confidence going into any cup fixture with Thomas Tuchel in charge.
After a tough 3-1 loss at home in the first leg, Chelsea produced one of their best performances under the German to put them within touching distance of qualifying.
Goals from Mason Mount, Rudiger himself and Timo Werner had the Blues ahead, before individual brilliance saw Madrid launch one of many comebacks that year.
Rudiger out to impress Real
Rudiger has claimed that after a prank by his brother, he was spurred on even more to perform in front of his future teammates and supporters.
He said: “At the end of April it became really concrete. But before everything was clear, my brother fooled me a bit. We played with Chelsea against Real in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
“After the first-leg defeat, he [my brother] suddenly said to me: ‘Toni, I don’t know if this will still work! In the second leg you have to show everything so that the change works.’ My head was shattered, that spurred me on.
“After Timo Werner made it 3-0, I thought: They’re gone! No other team had Real on their hands like we did – in their own stadium, ten minutes before the end.”
Rudiger was unable to come to terms with a new deal at Chelsea before the sanctions hit the club, so he ended up leaving the club for free.
Replacing the German was seen as a priority over the summer, which explains the big-money signings of Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella to strengthen the defence.