Chelsea can be like Real Madrid in the Champions League - Rudiger

Antonio Rudiger, Chelsea, 17/18Getty Images

Antonio Rudiger believes Chelsea can follow Real Madrid's lead in the Champions League after urging his team-mates not to fear Barcelona.

Chelsea head into the first leg of their last-16 showdown against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night on the back of an inconsistent Premier League season which has left them 19 points behind leaders Manchester City.

Their domestic plight is mirrored by Madrid, who lag 17 points behind Barcelona in La Liga, but beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 at home in the first leg of their Champions League tie last week.

Article continues below

Rudiger hopes that Chelsea can produce a similar result on the European stage by taking a different mental approach to the two competitions.

"The mental side of it is different because you can see Real Madrid haven't been doing as well as they're used to in the Spanish League, but in the Champions League they did very well against Paris Saint-Germain," Rudiger said after Chelsea's 4-0 win over Hull City in the FA Cup.  

"This is a different competition, it's two games. This is a chance for us to do things right and we have to take it. It depends on us. We all know Barcelona like having the ball. We have to try to make the match cat and mouse. 

"Football is played out on the pitch for 90 minutes, it is not what happens before it starts. Anyone who has fear or something like that, should not play. My respect for them is good, but once the referee blows the whistle I will always try to win my games. Everyone needs to focus as a team.

"The team needs to have one mind, to go on the pitch and try to win, that's it. This is a game of high quality, two good teams. They will have to worry and care about players we have like Hazard, Giroud, Morata, Fabregas. There are 11 players on that pitch and we will have to care about anyone on the pitch. The same goes for them.

"When I was younger I was dreaming about playing in a game like this. I think everyone does. I played against them before with AS Roma and now I'm with Chelsea but it doesn't matter what kind of club."

Rudiger faced Barcelona twice with his former club Roma in the Champions League group stage in 2015, drawing 1-1 at home and losing 6-1 at Camp Nou to the then holders. 

Antonio Rudiger, Lionel Messi, Roma vs Barcelona, Champions League 2015Getty Images

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both scored twice in that game, and Rudiger is well aware of the challenge of trying to stop the Argentine superstar.

"How would you react?!" said Rudiger in response to facing Messi. "Yes, I have played him before. Everyone knows what kind of quality he has.

"But we have to take this match. We are playing at home and it could be an advantage for us.

"It was a Champions League game [when I last faced them]. You are laughing so you know what happened! You can Google it."

Chelsea will play the first leg at Stamford Bridge before travelling to Barcelona to play Ernesto Valverde's side at Camp Nou on March 14.