Why Rudiger's Exit Will Hurt Chelsea The Most

There have been some moments in football folklore

A Football Report
Why Rudiger's Exit Will Hurt Chelsea The Most

There have been some moments in football folklore that are forever etched in the minds of football stakeholders. Who can forget the look of despair on the face of Sammy Kuffour when Bayern contrived to lose the Champions League Final against Manchester United at the Nou Camp back in '99? Or who would forget the pure passion of Eder and his Portuguese teammates when they stunned France at the Stade de France in the final of Euro 2016? Perhaps the latest was the manner in which Antonio Rudiger refused to be consoled after Chelsea were knocked out by Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals earlier this month.

He and his teammates had looked on course for an improbable semifinal berth after racing to a 3-0 lead, but two goals from Rodrygo and Karim Benzema sealed their fate. He looked anguished and it should have sent a sign to the Blues hierarchy that the 29-year-old German center-back had made up his mind to leave Stamford Bridge. Rudiger has become one of the best players in the world, especially in the last 18 months following the arrival of his countryman, Thomas Tuchel. The uncertainty around the ownership of Chelsea has meant Rudiger’s continued stay untenable, and news emerged this week that he will not be signing a new deal at the club.

Chelsea will be losing Christensen and Rudiger and although the Dane is 25 and was seen as the future of the club, and was even earmarked as a possible Chelsea captain, Chelsea will miss Rudiger more. Here is a player that wears his heart on his sleeves, is committed, loves the club, is a leader, and is very highly respected in the dressing room. The fact that Chelsea will lose him on a free is even more painful as The Blues had delayed his extension before the sanctions from the UK government hit the club as a result of its affiliation with billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich. While the club is in the middle of a sale, the deal won’t get over the line quickly enough for Rudiger to commit to a new deal.

Rudiger knows that the Chelsea fans absolutely love him, but in football, that’s not often enough. As a world-class defender close to the other side of 30, he knows that he needs to compete at the highest level to win the major trophies football has to offer. The future is uncertain for the Blues, and no one can begrudge Rudi if he decides to jump ship. He will always be welcome back at Stamford Bridge because the fans know that anytime he wears the jersey, he’d give his all on the pitch.

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