Germany international Antonio Rudiger has joined Spanish giants Real Madrid on a free transfer as expected, ending his five-year spell at Premier League side Chelsea
The Germany international, 29, was expected to join Real when his existing deal expires on June 30. Chelsea were unable to agree a new contract with Rudiger and announced his departure on Thursday afternoon. Real have also confirmed the deal.
“I’m proud to announce that I’ll be joining Real Madrid,” said Rudiger as the news broke. “I’m super excited for all the challenges ahead and can’t wait to play my first games for this huge club.”
The Blues added in a statement: “We bid farewell to Antonio as he departs Stamford Bridge… Chelsea Football Club thanks Toni for his contribution to our success over the last five years and wishes him well in his future career.”
Real have confirmed Rudiger will be unveiled to the press later this month. “Real Madrid CF has reached an agreement with the player Antonio Rudiger, who will be linked to the club for the next four seasons,” read a statement from the Spanish giants.
“Next Monday, June 20, at 12:00 at Real Madrid City, the presentation ceremony for Antonio Rudiger as a new Real Madrid player will take place.”
Rudiger joined Chelsea from Roma in the summer of 2017 and enjoyed five successful seasons at Stamford Bridge, making 203 appearances for the club. He won five trophies during his time in England – the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup. He also lost three FA Cup and two EFL Cups finals.
Chelsea failed to agree a new contract with Rudiger before their former owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government in March for allegedly having ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, something he denies. Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine in February and a devastating war in eastern Europe has raged ever since.
Due to the nature of the sanctions, Chelsea were unable to agree new contracts with players. Those restrictions were lifted when Todd Boehly’s consortium completed a takeover on Monday, yet not in time for the Blues to stop Rudiger’s move to Real.
Chelsea’s statement continued: “The 29-year-old was also an important figure in the dressing room with his leadership and passion, while his dedication and desire to win never faltered, even when it became clear he would be leaving the club this summer.
“Rudiger’s disappointment was obvious when defeats to Real Madrid in the Champions League and to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals denied him the chance to say goodbye with one more piece of silverware.”
Mason Mount paid tribute to Antonio Rudiger last month after he played his final game for Chelsea. “What a guy he is – a top, top guy,” said the England international. “Every time you’re on the pitch with him, you look around, and you can see the fire in his eyes to want to compete. He’s there behind you if there’s something that happens, he’s straight there trying to back your teammates.
“On the pitch, that person and totally different off it, an absolute gentleman. A pleasure to play with him over the last couple of years, I’ve learned a lot from him. We wish him all the best until we play against him.”