Rüdiger unveiled | It was ‘Madrid or nothing’ after snubbing Barcelona

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German defender Antonio Rüdiger, who joined Real Madrid from Chelsea, said Champions League-winning rivals Barcelona showed interest in signing him, but it was “Madrid or nothing”.

German defender Antonio Rüdiger, who joined Real Madrid from Chelsea, said Champions League-winning rivals Barcelona showed interest in signing him, but it was “Madrid or nothing”.

While still at Chelsea, Antonio Rudiger experienced firsthand what it means to be a Real Madrid player.

He was on the losing side Madrid had one of their stunning Champions League comebacks which culminated in its record expansion 14th European title this season.

Ruediger said his experience at the Santiago Bernabéu in that quarter-final defeat made it easier for him to join the Spanish powerhouse.

“The match I played against Chelsea at the Bernabéu was special, very intense,” the centre-back said during his official presentation in Madrid on Monday.

Incredible feeling

“I played for the first time at the Santiago Bernabeu,” he said. “It was an incredible feeling for me. After the third goal (for Chelsea) there was still a really positive atmosphere. The chance to play for such a club is incredible.”

In the second leg of the quarter-finals against Chelsea, Madrid lost 3-0, and Rudiger scored one of the goals, but the hosts rallied and still went ahead.

“I just don’t know how to describe Real Madrid’s achievements in the Champions League this year,” Ruediger said. “That was incredible. Obviously, by the time of the final, I knew that I would play for Real Madrid. I was right behind them and I was excited when they won it. I want to keep fighting for more titles next year.”

Barcelona have shown interest

Ruediger, 29, said Real Madrid archrivals Barcelona showed interest in signing him, but it was “Madrid or nothing”. “The first contact between Real Madrid and my agent was last September,” he said. – The second time I spoke with (coach Carlo) Ancelotti himself was in April. My contact with him was the most important moment, and that’s when I decided to join this club. He told me that he wanted me to be here, that he trusted me and that I could really help the team.”

Madrid signed the German international to a four-year deal who helped Chelsea win Champions League, Europa League, Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FA Cup titles. He scored five goals in 54 appearances for Chelsea last season, a record for him at the club.

Ruediger made his Bundesliga debut with Stuttgart at the age of 18 before moving to Roma in 2015 and then to Chelsea in 2017.

Ronaldo, Pepe his idols

Ruediger said his idols at Madrid include the former Brazilian great Ronaldo and fellow centre-back Pepe.

“(Pepe) has qualities that I like. And off the pitch, from what I’ve seen, he’s a good guy, but on the pitch he’s a monster,” Ruediger said.

Real Madrid signed defender David Alaba last year to make up for the absence of veteran Sergio Ramos, who joined Paris Saint-Germain. Alaba started in the Champions League final against Liverpool alongside Eder Militao. Nacho Fernandez also played in central defense when needed.

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