Antonio Rüdiger has mostly fond memories of his two years at AS Roma, where he battled a few injuries but also established himself as one of the better young center backs in the game, earning him the move to Chelsea this past summer. And while Rüdiger has remained about fourth in the pecking order for the Blues’ back three, injuries and suspensions and a busy schedule has given him plenty of opportunities and minutes to show just what he can do. He’s appeared in 13 of Chelsea’s 16 games so far this season, making 10 starts and settling quite quickly in West London.
"I'm very pleased with the games I've played and I always try to give my best for the team. At the moment I'm in good shape and this where I want to stay – and to get better."
"In my mindset, when I knew I would come to Chelsea I was already clear in my head: 'Hey, you need to be in every game 100 per cent focused and try to develop every time.' With my 24 years I am still young and I have to improve. There's a lot of space to improve."
The German international was only a substitute a fortnight ago in the madcap 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge between his last two clubs, but that was still enough time unfortunately for him to be racially abused by the traveling AS Roma fans. UEFA have opened an inquiry into the incident, but won’t render a verdict until mid-November. Still, Rudi’s looking forward to playing against his old team once again and visiting to the Italian capital.
"I'm happy to go to Rome and to play against my old team. First of all, I have big respect for this club because I had two wonderful years there. "
"There were up and downs with injuries, but everyone was always standing behind me. I appreciate that. But I'm now in Chelsea, I'm very happy with that, and I will give 100 per cent in the game."
Since that 3-3 draw, both teams have won all their games and will feel confident of getting a result tonight.
"The last week was very important. We go to Rome with confidence. We are back to winning ways and we want to continue. "
"We need to be ready in their stadium because it will be very, very hard. I know this team. They want to play football and they always have this desire, no matter what the situation is. This is what they did – they came to Stamford Bridge and had more ball possession than we. We all saw it. "
"[Edin] Dzeko is a very dangerous striker, like in the Premier League, everyone knows him. Also [Aleksandar] Kolarov at the back, who comes with a lot of power."
-Antonio Rüdiger; source: Chelsea FC
Antonio Conte also reflected on the situation in his pre-match comments, and expressed hope that the home fans at the Stadio Olimpico will treat their returning hero better than the traveling contingent did at Stamford Bridge.
“I think that Roma supporters are very passionate. Yeah in this case I think that Rudiger played for Roma for many years, and I think they will clap him. I repeat Roma fans are very passionate and during the game you feel this.”
And of course we’ll all be aiming for a slightly better result than a draw. A loss or a draw would not be the end of the world, but a win would guarantee Chelsea a spot in the knockout rounds.
“We know that this game will be tough. In the first game that we played at home, I think, at the end, it was a good result, but for sure, I like to play better, and then yeah, we try to do this in the game against Roma.”
-Antonio Conte; source: London News