ANTONIO RUDIGER has told Chelsea he WILL leave the club at the end of the season, Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.
The German defender’s contract expires at Stamford Bridge in the summer.
And manager Tuchel revealed the pair had a “private talk” where it was decided his future would be away from the club.
The Blues boss said: “Toni, the media is on it. The situation is that he wants to leave the club.
“He informed me of this in a private talk.
“We gave everything – me and the club – but we could not fight anymore because of the actions.
“Without the sanctions, we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but our hands are tied.
“We don’t take it personally. It is his decision.”
Rudiger, 29, joined the Blues from Roma in 2017 and has racked up 196 appearances for the club, lifting five trophies including last season’s Champions League.
However, with his contract expiring, months of negotiations and Chelsea currently banned from handing out any new deals, he has decided to walk away.
Rudiger had previously rejected a £200,000-per-week contract offer which would have made him the top-paid Chelsea defender ever before the UK sanctions came in.
Manchester United were linked with the 50-cap international defender.
But it looks as though Real Madrid are in pole position to sign the experienced star on a free transfer instead.
Speaking after Sunday’s last-gasp 1-0 win over West Ham, Tuchel added: “He is a key figure and will stay that way until the end of the season. But it is disappointing.
“We will miss him a lot. He gives courage in the dressing room.
“The kind everyone is afraid of, but the kind to play 50-55 games at an outstanding level.
“He has been a top defender in the last one-and-a-half years for me. We then need to find another solution.”