Chelsea hero Antonio Rudiger snubs Barcelona for Real Madrid transfer | Soccer

Antonio Rudiger was unveiled as a Real Madrid player on Monday

Antonio Rudiger was unveiled as a Real Madrid player on Monday (Image: Getty)

Antonio Rüdiger has confirmed that he snubbed Barcelona are backing a move to Real Madrid after deciding to leave Chelsea.

The German defender spent five enjoyable and fruitful years at Stamford Bridge, making over 200 appearances for the Blues and helping the club win five domestic and European trophies.

With Rudiger establishing himself as one of the top-rated defenders in Europe, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was keen to sign a contract extension with the 29-year-old but no deal could be reached.

As a result, Rudiger joined Real Madrid on a free transfer earlier this month, signing a four-year deal with the Spanish and European champions.

Real Madrid’s La Liga rivals Barcelona have also been interested in signing Rudiger but the former Roma defender says his heart is set on a move to the Bernabeu.

“Yes, there was interest from Barcelona,” said Rüdiger at his unveiling on Monday. “But I told my brother [and agent] it was real or nothing.

“The first time there was contact, it wasn’t really myself, it was my agent. That was in September last year.

“The second time I spoke directly to Mr [Carlo] Ancelotti, was in April. That was the most important moment. That’s when I made my choice.’

Rudiger joins a Real Madrid side that won both the Spanish title and the Champions League last season.

The club’s run in Europe was particularly impressive as Ancelotti’s side beat Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool en route to a record-breaking 14th Champions League title.

“What Madrid did in the Champions League last year, I don’t know how to describe it,” added Ruediger.

“It was incredible… When you come to a big, massive club it’s important, but I try to enjoy the pressure. I consider myself lucky to be here.”

Ruediger spent five successful years at Chelsea

Rudiger spent five successful years at Chelsea (Image: Getty)

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez praised Rudiger as “one of the best defenders in the world” at Monday’s unveiling.

The Bernabeu boss said: “This is another of those special days at Real Madrid where a player arrives who will make us stronger.

“This player is amazing and puts his heart into every game. He has the quality to play at the best club in the world.

“We are all delighted to have a player like you, especially as you have done everything to get here. You had a choice of big clubs but you chose that badge and moved to Real where the crowd gives you the energy to achieve amazing milestones.

“Now you are a Real Madrid player. You have chosen the biggest challenge of your career. You will quickly learn what Real Madrid is and that this is a way of understanding life.”

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Chelsea FC Chelsea hero Antonio Rudiger snubs Barcelona for Real Madrid transfer | Soccer

Nate Jones

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