Antonio Rüdiger was hoping to go out on a high note after the five years at Chelsea that’s had plenty of them. Alas, he’s going out on a disappointing note, which have also been a bit too common at times as well unfortunately.
Between that Second Conte Season and now, Rüdiger experienced some of the highest of highs and some of the lowest of lows, often just months apart, from winning European titles to being the bottom of the pecking order with the exit-door left open suggestively. The past 18 months under Thomas Tuchel have been his very best, but the die for his exit was cast some time ago.
“There was a chance but sanctions are not the problem. I don’t want to go too deep in things. At the end of the day it’s not only about one side (helping the other), it’s both sides — Chelsea have been great to me, I have been great to Chelsea.
“As always, I am very, very thankful me, my family. I became a man here. My kids were born here and everything. London and especially Chelsea will always be special to me.
“It’s been five years as normal with ups and downs, but with a lot of positive things. That’s why I’m even more frustrated because I wanted to have a different ending.”
-Antonio Rüdiger; source: The Athletic
Without an actual explanation, we are left to speculate what the “problem” may have been. Money? Stability? Ambition? Challenge? All of the above? None of the above? I suppose it doesn’t really matter in the end. These things happen, and we can’t control everything all the time.
Replacing Rüdiger won’t be so easy, neither on nor off the pitch — he developed from a “shy” newcomer to a vocal leader (I know, “shy” isn’t exactly a word we’d associate with Toni now, but that wasn’t always the case, certainly not before we first go to witness his dance moves) — but much like last night’s loss, we have to digest it and move on. “It’s life in sports.”.
We of course wish Rüdiger all the best of luck and success in Madrid, unless we meet again in the Champions League that is. Hopefully the move works out for him more like it has for Thibaut Courtois and less like it has (or hasn’t, as it were) for Eden Hazard.