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'We’re not robots' – Rudiger explains why new Chelsea contract didn’t happen as he prepares to join Real Madrid

10:46 BST 20/05/2022
Antonio Rudiger Chelsea 2021-22
The German defender will be departing Stamford Bridge as a free agent as no fresh terms have been agreed in west London

Antonio Rudiger has lifted the lid on why no new contract was agreed at Chelsea, with the German defender preparing to link up with Real Madrid as a free agent this summer.

The 29-year-old centre-half is bidding farewell to Stamford Bridge after five seasons, making more than 200 appearances alongside FA Cup, Europa League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup honours.

He has been a talismanic presence for the Blues at times, but no extension to his spell in west London has been agreed and a new challenge at the Liga heavyweights will be taken on from 2022-23.

Why did Rudiger not sign a new contract at Chelsea?

Rudiger told The Players’ Tribune why no agreement was reached: “Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get difficult last fall.

“Business is business, but when you don’t hear any news from the club from August to January, the situation becomes complicated.

“After the first offer, there was a long gap of just nothing. We’re not robots, you know? You cannot wait for months with so much uncertainty about your future.

“Obviously, no one saw the sanctions coming, but in the end, other big clubs were showing interest, and I had to make a decision. I will leave it at that, because business aside, I have nothing bad to say about this club.

“Chelsea will always be in my heart. London will always be my home.

“I came here alone, and now I have a wife and two beautiful kids. I also have a new brother for life named Kova. I have an FA Cup, a Europa League and a Champions League medal. Of course, I have hundreds of memories that will stay with me forever.

“I leave this club with a heavy heart. It has meant everything to me. Even this season, with all the complications, has been enjoyable.”

Will there be further departures at Chelsea this summer?

The Blues are, as their protracted takeover saga drags on, currently working under restrictions imposed by the UK government with Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich having his assets frozen.

That is preventing the club from discussing any new contracts or readying moves for fresh faces in the summer transfer window.

Plenty of movement is expected, with a consortium headed up by Todd Boehly poised to take control at Stamford Bridge, but there could be as many departures as arrivals.

Rudiger’s exit has already been confirmed, with fellow defender Andreas Christensen another of those heading towards free agency as the Denmark international continues to be linked with Barcelona.

Interest from Camp Nou is also said to have been shown in Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, while questions are being asked of whether Romelu Lukaku will be moved on just 12 months after completing a £98 million ($122m) transfer from Inter.

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