How does one react to an historic 6-0 drubbing? Anger? Shame? Disgust? Quiet reflection? Deafening silence? Remorse?
For at least one Chelsea player, one of the first thoughts was to (try to) apologize in person to the thousands who had made the trip north to Manchester and were facing a long Sunday night of traveling back home. A token gesture, in a way, but still something that shows a certain level of caring and understanding of that a football club is more than just the sum of the results on the pitch.
Given his tendency to speak his mind and wear his heart on his sleeve, win or lose, unsurprisingly that player was Antonio Rüdiger. Unfortunately for him, that token gesture quickly turned sour as at least one person startled hurling abuse at him.
Rudiger staying to apologise to Chelsea fans.— Lewis (@CarefreeLewisG) February 10, 2019
At least he cares pic.twitter.com/lmLyEprK1c
Rüdiger, who reportedly asked the steward to let him go over the boards to get even closer to the fans, then shouted back “I’ve come over to say sorry, stand in front of me if you‘ve something to say”. He even slammed his shinpads to the ground?
On it. Jorginho was the first walking off but Azpi told him to turn round. Luiz wasn't going back for seconds. Azpi himself didn't go too close. Rudiger was the main one brave enough and after a chat even he threw his shinpads to the ground and stormed away after— Sid Celery (@sidcelery) February 11, 2019
Fortunately, nothing more came of the situation and Rüdiger gave his shirt to a young fan in the end. So did Eden Hazard.
Apologies are well and good, but of course they won’t change the result. The best apology any of the players can make is to put this result in the dustbin of history and win the next game. And then the one after that. And then the one after that. And so on.