Everyone’s talking about the hottest ticket in town, Chelsea’s massive encounter with Barcelona in the Champions League tomorrow. Next up is Antonio Rüdiger, who sat down with Goal.com's Chelsea correspondent Nizaar Kinsella to talk about Tuesday night’s challenge.
This is Rüdiger’s first season at Chelsea but not his first foray into the knockout rounds of the Champions League. Two years ago, he was on the losing end of a Round of 16 encounter against eventual champions Real Madrid. The Galacticos may be struggling a bit more this season, at least domestically, but are still going strong in Europe and for Rüdiger, that’s a perfect example for Chelsea to emulate.
“The mental side of it is different because you can see Real Madrid haven’t been doing as well as they’re used to in the Spanish League, but in the Champions League they did very well against Paris Saint-Germain.
“This is a different competition, it’s two games. This is a chance for us to do things right and we have to take it. It depends on us. We all know Barcelona like having the ball. We have to try to make the match cat and mouse.
“The team needs to have one mind, to go on the pitch and try to win, that’s it. This is a game of high quality, two good teams. They will have to worry and care about players we have like Hazard, Giroud, Morata, Fabregas. There are 11 players on that pitch and we will have to care about anyone on the pitch. The same goes for them.”
Rüdiger’s saying all the right things as one would expect him to do, underlining a most important point: anything can happen in the knockout stages. We already know this from 2012, though most of the current squad were not around back then. Now it’s up to them to put any personal struggles and doubts to the side and become heroes.
“Football is played out on the pitch for 90 minutes, it is not what happens before it starts. Anyone who has fear or something like that, should not play. My respect for them is good, but once the referee blows the whistle I will always try to win my games. Everyone needs to focus as a team.”
-Antonio Rüdiger; Source Goal