x

International

Rüdiger: It Was “Madrid or Nothing” after Leaving Chelsea

MADRID — While he was still with Chelsea, Antonio Rüdiger experienced first-hand what it felt like to be a Real Madrid player.

He was on the losing end as Madrid pulled off one of its stunning Champions League comebacks that culminated with its record-extending 14th European title this season.

Rüdiger said his experience at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in that quarterfinal loss made his decision to join the Spanish powerhouse easier.

“The match I played with Chelsea at the Bernabéu was special, so intense,” the central defender said during his official presentation at Madrid on Monday.

“It was my first time playing at the Santiago Bernabéu,” he said. “It was an incredible feeling for me. After the third goal (for Chelsea), there was still a really positive atmosphere. I took away amazing feelings and having the chance to play for a club like this is unbelievable.”

Madrid went down 3-0 in that second leg of the quarterfinals against Chelsea, with Rüdiger scoring one of the goals, but the hosts rallied and still advanced.

“I simply wouldn’t know how to describe what Real Madrid achieved in the Champions League this year,” Rüdiger said. “It was unbelievable. Obviously, by the time the final came around I knew I was going to play for Real Madrid. I was right behind them and I was thrilled when they won it. Next year, I want to keep competing for more titles.”

The 29-year-old Rüdiger said Madrid’s archrival Barcelona showed interest in signing him but it was “Madrid or nothing.”

“The first contact between Real Madrid and my agent came in September last year,” he said. “The second time I spoke to (coach Carlo) Ancelotti himself was in April. My contact with him was the most important moment and that’s when I made the decision to join this club. He told me he wanted me here, he trusted me, and that I could really help the team.”

Madrid signed a four-year contract with the Germany international, who helped Chelsea win titles in the Champions League, Europa League, Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FA Cup. He scored five goals in 54 matches with Chelsea last season, both a record for him with the club.

Rüdiger made his Bundesliga debut with Stuttgart as an 18-year-old before joining Roma in 2015 and eventually Chelsea in 2017.

Rüdiger said his idols at Madrid include former Brazil great Ronaldo and fellow central defender Pepe.

“(Pepe) has attributes I love. And off the pitch, from what I’ve seen, he’s a good guy, but on the pitch he’s a monster,” Rüdiger said.

Madrid signed defender David Alaba last year to help make up for the absence of veteran Sergio Ramos, who joined Paris Saint-Germain. Alaba started in the Champions League final against Liverpool alongside Éder Militão. Nacho Fernández has also played in central defense when needed.

RELATED

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Canadian 15-year-old Summer McIntosh won another gold medal and Italy pipped the United States to the men's 4x100 medley relay title on the last night of racing at the world swimming championships.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Woman Fatally Shot while Pushing Stroller on Upper East Side

NEW YORK — A 20-year-old woman was fatally shot Wednesday night while she pushed her infant daughter in a stroller on the Upper East Side, police said.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.