Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger’s move to Real Madrid is all but complete ahead of an end-of-season announcement, with the German set to move to the Bernabeu on a free transfer.
The Blues tried to negotiate a deal for him to stay in west London but due to sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich and the subsequent UK Government special licence the club are operating under, they have been unable to continue talks for the past couple of months.
As a result, Real Madrid have made their move and persuaded the Stamford Bridge favourite to make the switch from London to Spain this summer.
It is a loss that more and more Chelsea fans had resigned themselves too throughout the season as negotiations continued to stall even before the sanctions.
Finally, Thomas Tuchel confirmed that this season would be the 28-year-old’s last in a Chelsea shirt. Despite competition from the likes of Manchester United and PSG, rudiger has agreed to join the Spanish side.
“The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this in a private talk,” Tuchel said after the 1-0 win over West Ham. “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.
“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 is a top defender in the last one-and-a-half years for me. We then need to find another solution.”
Rudiger has been an integral part of Chelsea’s side since Tuchel’s arrival, making 74 appearances under his compatriot. Only Mason Mount (76) has been called upon more times.
On Tuesday afternoon, transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano tweeted further details of Rudiger’s transfer, including when it would be announced and how long the contract would be.
“Everything is now done between Real Madrid and Toni Rüdiger,” the journalist wrote on Twitter. “The deal has been completed, club sources confirm: he will play for Real. Contract until 2026, there’s no option for further season. Official announcement: end of the season.”