Leave Chelsea with heavy heart as it has meant everything to me, confesses Antonio Rudiger
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has confirmed that he is set to leave the club at the end of the 2021/22 season as a free agent once his contract expires. The German star signed for the Blues in the summer of 2017 and has since gone on to make over 200 appearances for the London side.
When Antonio Rudiger, the hype behind the move wasn’t all that much despite the German defender thriving at AS Roma. However, things have changed in the years since with the now 29-year-old doing well under Thomas Tuchel’s tenure at Chelsea. So much so, that Rudiger has become a key part of the Chelsea squad that lifted the 2020/21 Champions League and arguably one of the best defenders in English football.
But with less than one year left on his contract at the start of the season, fans and critics alike were concerned about the German’s future at Stamford Bridge. Things became even worse after Real Madrid reportedly agreed to a deal with Rudiger set to leave although nothing had been confirmed. That has now changed as the German has confirmed that he is set to leave Chelsea at the end of his contract and does so “with a heavy heart”. Rudiger added that his contract negotiations had stalled months ago which essentially complicated things.
“I leave this club with a heavy heart. It has meant everything to me. Even this season, with all the complications, has been enjoyable. Football is football. We are blessed to play a game for a living that we would play for free anyway. In fact, when the financial restrictions were being rumoured, we were all laughing about having to take a bus or a smaller plane or whatever to the matches. I mean, a small plane? Oh no!!! What am I going to do? Come on. Do you know where I come from?” Rüdiger told Players’ Tribune.
“A small plane is still a privilege. Honestly, a bus to Manchester sounds kind of cool. Me and the boys would have made it fun, for sure. Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get difficult last fall. Business is business, but when you don’t hear any news from the club from August to January, the situation becomes complicated.
“After the first offer, there was a long gap of just nothing. We’re not robots, you know? You cannot wait for months with so much uncertainty about your future. Obviously, no one saw the sanctions coming, but in the end, other big clubs were showing interest, and I had to make a decision. I will leave it at that, because business aside, I have nothing bad to say about this club.”
The 29-year-old also admitted that he will forever remember his time at Chelsea as the club “will always be in my heart” and that “London will always be my home”. Not only that, he praised the fans and the club alike thanking them for the memories and medals he won along the way.
“Chelsea will always be in my heart. London will always be my home. I came here alone, and now I have a wife and two beautiful kids. I also have a new brother for life named Kova. I have an FA Cup, a Europa League and a Champions League medal. And of course, I have hundreds of memories that will stay with me forever,” he added.