Antonio Rüdiger recently took a break from Chelsea due to muscle complaints in his groin and thighs – the decision was taken as a precaution not to risk a serious injury, which would mean his participation in the FA Cup final against Liverpool on May 14 may risk. Despite this self-imposed creative break, the German international defender followed his club’s unadorned 1-0 home victory against West Ham United from the stands on Sunday, with which Chelsea strengthened third place in the Premier League table.
The little break would be a good idea for Rüdiger to say a word about his future at Chelsea. In the summer of 2017, the club released him from AS Roma for 35 million euros and gave him a five-year contract – this now expires at the end of June. But Rüdiger remained silent, just like last season, even this time he did not say a word about his professional ambitions.
Instead, Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel commented after the league match – and reported that Rüdiger had told him “in a private conversation” that he was leaving the club at the end of the season. Tuchel revealed that he had been “personally very strong” in keeping his player, just as Chelsea would have given “everything with great offers” to keep him. But eventually the club’s hands were “tied” by sanctions.
For Rüdiger, 29, it’s the supposedly last really lucrative contract of his career.
For almost a year, the club has been trying in vain to renew its working relationship with Rüdiger, who aims to double his annual salary, estimated at six million euros, which would have made him the highest paid defender at the club. history. Initially, however, Chelsea were not prepared to give in to financial demands – and then suddenly it was no longer possible because the UK government rendered owner Roman Abramovich’s club still unable to act because of his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Until the club’s complex sale is completed, Chelsea will not be allowed to sign new players or renew contracts with professionals who are already employed.
Rüdiger’s situation at Chelsea was not really easy in previous years, which was mainly due to Tuchel’s predecessor Frank Lampard, who dismissed Rüdiger at the start of the pre-season. Although Rüdiger had an outstanding reputation at the time, especially with general manager Marina Granovskaia, Chelsea allowed the Lampard club icon to do so, which is said to have massively disappointed Rüdiger. As the tide turned in his favor with the change of manager, he was a favorite of the crowd and the team’s emotional leader, with consistently strong appearances boosting his market value – and thus the price of staying in London.
During his tenure, Rüdiger was “simply brilliant”, Tuchel praised, so he deserves “my full support”. Tuchel put this into practice right away by not receiving the “personally” “disappointing” farewell and even seemed to have a certain meaning for the decision.
At the age of 29, Rüdiger is dealing with the supposedly last truly lucrative contract of his career. It has already been decided that he will move to Real Madrid as a free transfer after the season. Los Blancos are luring Rüdiger with a thrilling financial package and the prospect of taking on defender Sergio Ramos, who moved to Paris earlier this season. At Real, Rüdiger could form one of the best pair of center-backs in the world alongside David Alaba (who came from Munich before the season). Under Tuchelin, the highly talented Rüdiger, who has all the essential qualities of a top defender with his perseverance, dynamism and attacking power, has matured into a leader. With his unconditional commitment, Rüdiger even brings out “a certain fear factor” for opponents, Tuchel says. To his team “will miss him a lot”.
Chelsea fear more professionals will leave the club after Rüdiger
Farewell hits Chelsea particularly hard because the club fears its competition more than ever. In addition to Rüdiger, the club reportedly had to let another center-back go without a transfer over the summer, Andreas Christensen, who is among others facing FC Barcelona. It is also unclear how long defensive strategist Thiago Silva, whose remaining career goal is to win the World Cup title with Brazil at the end of the year, can still meet the demands of a good club at the age of 37. Even for captain César Azpilicueta, 32, the longest-serving professional on the team, there are persistent rumors that his time in London could end soon – although his contract was automatically extended recently by one year as a result of the number of appearances that he had arrived.
The loss of defensive ability, always seen as the spectacle of Tuchel’s squad, is provoking growing concern among some players who, without an adequate replacement, are questioning their Chelsea prospects. But for any conversation with possible additions, the club must first get approval. While he certainly would have liked that, Tuchel said cautiously, “no grass” grows faster if it pulls. Therefore, Tuchel and Chelsea FC currently have no choice but to be patient.