Real Madrid confirm Antonio Rudiger deal as Chelsea pay tribute to ‘most passionate character’

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Real Madrid confirm Antonio Rudiger deal as Chelsea pay tribute to ‘most passionate character’
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Chelsea have bid farewell to Antonio Rudiger, with Real Madrid officially announcing the arrival of the German defender.

Champions League and LaLiga winners Madrid confirmed on Thursday that Rudiger had penned a four-year contract to move to the Santiago Bernabeu, with his unveiling and introductory press conference scheduled for midday on Monday, June 20.

“Real Madrid CF has reached an agreement with the player Antonio Rudiger, who will be linked to the club for the next four seasons,” Real said. “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. Next, Antonio Rudiger will appear before the media.”

Rudiger - along with defensive colleague Andreas Christensen - will leave Chelsea on a free transfer, with the club penning an emotional goodbye to an important asset, praising his passion and leadership and for remaining fully committed to the club’s cause even when it had long since become clear that he would not be remaining at Stamford Bridge beyond the summer.

“We bid farewell to Antonio Rudiger as he departs Stamford Bridge with his Chelsea contract expiring, bringing to a close his five trophy-filled years with the club,” the Blues said in a lengthy statement.

“The German defender has left the Blues to join Real Madrid, having played a huge role in our successes in recent seasons. Rudiger lifted the FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup with Chelsea, playing a crucial role in all those triumphs at the heart of our defence.

“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.”

Chelsea added: “Rudiger made 54 appearances in all competitions in his final campaign, all from the start, more than any other Chelsea player. He departs with 203 appearances and 12 goals to his name, in that time establishing himself as one of the most passionate characters to represent the club in recent memory.

“Chelsea Football Club thanks Toni for his contribution to our success over the last five years and wishes him well in his future career.”

With Rudiger and Christensen leaving on free transfers and doubts also surrounding the futures of Marcos Alonso and long-serving captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea will surely prioritise defensive recruits during the early stages of new owner Todd Boehly’s proposed £200million summer rebuild.

The club are making a new push to sign long-term target Jules Kounde from Sevilla, with the likes of Leicester’s Wesley Fofana, Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, Villarreal’s Pau Torres, Jose Gimenez from Atletico Madrid and Torino’s Gleison Bremer also featuring prominently on their extensive list of defensive targets.

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