Real Madrid hailed Antonio Rudiger as “one of the best defenders in world football” after both clubs involved confirmed the ex-Chelsea ace has moved to Spain.
The German centre-back, 29, has arguably been Chelsea’s best defender over the last 18 months. Thiago Silva and Reece James are in the equation, though it is Rudiger who has consistently performed at a truly elite level for Thomas Tuchel.
So it came as something of a surprise to learn over the last few months it was unlikely he’d pen a contract extension.
Chelsea did seek to extend his stay, though Tuchel blamed the club’s sanctions as one reason why retaining Rudiger became impossible.
Regardless, Real Madrid emerged as the strongest contender to secure his services and official statements from both Chelsea and Real Madrid have confirmed the free agent move.
The Blues statement acknowledged the “huge role” Rudiger played in their recent successes. His leadership and presence in the dressing room was also hailed.
Real Madrid’s statement spoke of strengthening a squad that is already European champions and talked up the coup by labeling Rudiger as “one of the best defenders in the world.”
Outlining exactly what Real will get in Rudiger, the statement described the German as a “very physical commanding presence” before listing his career honors.
Fabrizio Romano shed light on the finer details of the move, tweeting Rudiger has signed a four-year deal running until 2026. There is no option for an extra year included.
The Athletic previously reported he’ll pocket around £155,000-a-week.
Who will replace Antonio Rudiger at Chelesa?
Aside from Rudiger, Andreas Christensen also looks on course to depart. Another free agent switch to Barcelona is on the cards, while Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta are also targets for Xavi’s side.
Defensive additions will therefore be on the menu at Stamford Bridge and a long-awaited move for Jules Kounde is in the works.
Sky Sports reported a verbal agreement is in place. Spanish outlet Sport added talks over a deal in the region of £50m have recently been opened.
But to ensure Tuchel isn’t caught short with his customary back three system, Sky listed three more centre-halves shortlisted by the Blues.
Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez and RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol are both on Chelsea’s radar. But the most eye-catching name is that of PSG ace Presnel Kimpembe.
The Frenchman was considered Tuchel’s preferred choice of the three And as a left-footer, he’d be the best fit to take Rudiger’s place on the left side of the back three.
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