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Antonio Rudiger opens up on “key moment” for choosing Real Madrid over Chelsea stay

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Antonio Rudiger has signed a four-year contract at Real Madrid after leaving Chelsea as a free agent and he has now highlighted the “key moment” behind the move.

Antonio Rudiger has claimed that his talk with Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was the “key moment” in deciding to join the club from Chelsea.

The Germany international, 29, has penned a four-year contract in the Spanish capital after joining the club as a free agent from the Blues. The West London club were unable to agree a new contract with Rudiger and Thomas Tuchel announced his departure in April – joining Andreas Christensen in leaving Stamford Bridge at the end of his contract.

The former Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund defender was instrumental in Chelsea’s Champions League success at the end of the 2020/21 season. He enjoyed a resurgence in form under Blues boss Tuchel after being excluded from the team under the German’s predecessor, Frank Lampard.

Despite being a mainstay in the Blues defence under Tuchel, he was unable to agree terms on a new deal and has moved to Real Madrid, where he will earn a reported wage of €400,000 (£340,000) per week.

Speaking at his unveiling press conference at Los Blancos on Monday, Rudiger said: “The first time the club contacted my agent was in September of last year. The second time, in April, when I spoke with Ancelotti. This was the key moment, it was at this moment that I decided to play for Madrid.”

Rudiger joined Chelsea from Roma in the summer of 2017 and enjoyed five successful seasons at Stamford Bridge, making 203 appearances for the club. He won five trophies during his time in England – the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup. He also lost three FA Cup and two EFL Cups finals.

Chelsea failed to agree a new contract with Rudiger before their former owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government in March for allegedly having ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, something he denies. Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine in February and a devastating war in eastern Europe has raged ever since. Due to the nature of the sanctions, Chelsea were unable to agree new contracts with players. Those restrictions were lifted when Todd Boehly’s consortium completed a takeover last month, yet not in time for the Blues to stop Rudiger’s move to the Spanish capital.

Mason Mount paid tribute to his departing teammate last month after he played his final game for Chelsea. “What a guy he is – a top, top guy,” the England international said. “Every time you’re on the pitch with him, you look around, and you can see the fire in his eyes to want to compete. He’s there behind you if there’s something that happens, he’s straight there trying to back your teammates.

“On the pitch, that person and totally different off it, an absolute gentleman. A pleasure to play with him over the last couple of years, I’ve learned a lot from him. We wish him all the best until we play against him.”

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