Rudiger’s Brave Header Sends Madrid Into Champions League Knock-Outs

Real Madrid's German defender Antonio Rudiger (R) scores the 1-1 goal Shakhtar Donetsk's Ukrainian goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin (2nd R) and Shakhtar Donetsk's Ukrainian defender Mykola Matviyenko (3rd R) try to stop the ball during the UEFA Champions League group F football match Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid in Warsaw, Poland, on October 11, 2022. (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)
Real Madrid’s German defender Antonio Rudiger (R) scores the 1-1 goal Shakhtar Donetsk’s Ukrainian goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin (2nd R) and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Ukrainian defender Mykola Matviyenko (3rd R) try to stop the ball during the UEFA Champions League group F football match Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid in Warsaw, Poland, on October 11, 2022. (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)

 

Real Madrid reached the Champions League last 16 with a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw on Tuesday.

Antonio Rudiger scored a brave header deep in stoppage time to equalise and earn the reigning champions passage to the knock-out rounds.

The Ukrainian side, playing their home matches in Poland because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, impressed and took the lead through Oleksandr Zubkov early in the second half.

It seemed like Madrid were poised to lose their first match of the season across all competitions, but Rudiger headed home from Toni Kroos’s cross in the fifth minute of five added on, colliding with goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin in the process.

Rudiger left the pitch covered in blood, and the Shakhtar goalkeeper had to see out the final seconds with a bandage wrapped round his head.

Carlo Ancelotti had rested Vinicius Junior, among others, keeping an eye on Sunday’s Clasico against bitter rivals Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Madrid talisman Benzema started the game after missing the 1-0 win over Getafe on Saturday, and was the first to test Trubin with a blast straight at the goalkeeper.

The Ukrainian made several brilliant saves at the Santiago Bernabeu in a 2-1 defeat last week, but had a much quieter opening half on this occasion.

Trubin made another stop to deny Benzema from a tight angle, but had little else to do as Los Blancos rarely clicked in attack.

Shakhtar took a surprise lead at the start of the second half, with Lucas Vazquez failing to cut out Bogdan Mykhaylichenko’s cross and Zubkov getting the jump on Mendy to head home.

Ancelotti responded by withdrawing Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard, who failed to make an impact in an attacking midfield role, and threw on Vinicius and Luka Modric.

Still, the Ukrainian side, filled with youth players after many senior squad members departed because of the war, were tireless.

Pouring forward, Zubkov played in Lassina Traore, who was first denied by Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, and then the crossbar, coming inches from the second goal.

Lunin was forced into another save by the electric Zubkov from distance and Ancelotti threw on more stars from the bench, with David Alaba, Eduardo Camavinga and Marco Asensio entering the fray.

It looked like Madrid’s unbeaten streak was up, but Rudiger’s bravery at the last meant they have not tasted defeat in 13 matches, and will be in the last 16 of the Champions League, come February 2023.

 

AFP

Ancelotti Was Key To Real Madrid Move, Says Rudiger

German defender Antonio Rudiger arrives to hold a press conference during his official presentation as a new Madrid CF player, at the Ciudad Real Madrid in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid, on June 20, 2022.
JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

 

Antonio Rudiger said on Monday Carlo Ancelotti was instrumental in his decision to join Real Madrid from Chelsea this summer.

Rudiger has moved to Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer after choosing not to extend his Chelsea contract. The 29-year-old defender has signed a four-year deal with the reigning Spanish and European champions.

Rudiger, speaking at his presentation ceremony at the club’s training ground in Valdebebas, said he made his decision in April, after a conversation with the Italian coach.

“The first time I got in contact, not really me, my agent, was early September. The second time, I spoke with Mr. Ancelotti, that was in April,” Rudiger said.

“That was the most important moment, to speak with Mr. Ancelotti. That was when I made my choice, that I wanted to play for this club under him.

“He said he wanted me, trusted in my abilities, that I could be very helpful to the team, and at my age, that’s enough. At the end of the day, it’s Mr Ancelotti. You always know at Madrid that nothing is guaranteed. You have to fight for your place. I’m ready to do that.”

As well as turning down the chance to stay at Chelsea, Rudiger said there was also interest in him from Barcelona. “There was interest from Barcelona but I told my brother, it’s Real or nothing,” Rudiger said.

The German will be competing with Eder Militao and David Alaba for a spot in Madrid’s central defence next season, although Ancelotti could also switch to a back three in defence to accommodate an impressive trio of options.

– ‘Stacked’ –
After the departures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane last year, Militao and Alaba formed a superb partnership, becoming an essential part of Madrid’s success last term.

“Real Madrid is stacked with very, very good players, also in my position,” said Rudiger.

“But I’m looking confidently going into this. What do I bring? Competition, which is healthy for everyone. It keeps everyone going and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Rudiger became known at Chelsea for his combative style and dynamic displays in the Premier League. He pledged to be a leader in the Real Madrid dressing room.

“With me you never know what to expect off the pitch. I like to laugh, I like to dance,” said Rudiger.

“But on the pitch I’m serious. I don’t like to joke around. I hope what I can bring is my fighting spirit, leadership. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I have to come here, adapt, speak Spanish. I will do my best.”

Asked if there were any Real Madrid defenders he particularly admired, Rudiger said: “There have been a lot of top centre-backs but one I liked a lot was Pepe. Apparently off the pitch a very nice person, but on the pitch, a monster. I like that,” Rudiger said.

Rudiger was on the pitch, and scored, as Chelsea led 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu in April, only for Real Madrid to pull off an incredible comeback to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

“It was a very intense night, it was my first time at the Bernabeu,” Rudiger said. “What Madrid did last year in the Champions League, that was… I don’t know how to describe it, unbelievable.”

Madrid defeated Liverpool 1-0 in the final in Paris, to lift the club’s 14th European Cup.

“In the final, I knew I was going to be a Real Madrid player and I was rooting for them,” Rudiger added. “I lost two finals against Liverpool with my former team so I was very happy that Real beat them.”

Rudiger Completes Move To Real Madrid From Chelsea

Antonio Rudiger (Photo: AFP)

 

German international defender Antonio Rudiger has joined Spanish and European champions Real Madrid from Chelsea, the two clubs confirmed on Thursday.

The 29-year-old centre-back, who was out of contract at Chelsea, has signed a four-year deal in the Spanish capital, Real announced.

In a statement on their official website, Madrid said Rudiger would be unveiled at a press conference at the club’s training ground on June 20.

He is currently with the Germany squad for a series of UEFA Nations League matches, with Hansi Flick’s team playing Italy away on Saturday and then taking on England and Hungary before facing Italy again on June 14.

Rudiger, who started his professional career at VfB Stuttgart, spent two seasons at Roma before joining Chelsea in 2017 for a reported £29 million ($36.4m).

In his time at Stamford Bridge, Rudiger notably won the FA Cup in 2018 and the Europa League in 2019, although he didn’t play in the latter final.

He then helped Thomas Tuchel’s side to win the Champions League last year.

“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 London side said in a statement.

Rudiger joins a Real side who are fresh from winning the Champions League by beating Liverpool 1-0 in last weekend’s final in Paris.

He will compete with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Nacho Fernandez for a slot in the heart of the Real defence.

Antonio Rudiger Bids Chelsea Goodbye

Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger (C) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal with Chelsea’s German striker Timo Werner (R) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on September 19, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Antonio Rudiger has penned down his final farewell note to the Chelsea faithful ahead of his move to Real Madrid.

The stalwart German defender who signed from Roma in 2017 for a fee of £29 million won the FA Cup in his first season, followed by the UEFA Europa League in his second season, and the UEFA Champions League in 2021.

Discussions between the centre-back’s representatives and Chelsea had taken place in January but, no new, improved official offer was tabled.

Real Madrid emerged favourites to secure Rudiger’s services on a pre-contract agreement – after successful; talks with Rudiger’s representatives.

The 29-year-old on Wednesday confirmed his exit from the club in an open letter to Chelsea fans titled “Dear Chelsea.”

Ngolo Kante AFP

 

“I don’t like goodbyes. But I will try to make this one special, from the heart,” Rudiger opened with.

Rudiger was full of praise for his fellow teammate Ngolo Kante, whom he described as “one of the nicest guys in football.”

“Before I came to Chelsea, I had heard all the beautiful stories about him. They said he is always smiling. They said he still drives an old Mini Cooper. They said he never raises his voice. But you know how it goes in football, right? No one is really like that. There is too much pressure, too much disappointment. We are all human. No one is that cool all the time. It’s impossible.,” he said.

“Then I met N’Golo.”

Rudiger also cited Thomas Tuchel as instrumental in his resurgence at the club also thanking the German for his belief in him.

Chelsea’s German pairing of Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Rudiger (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP

 

“When Tuchel came in as manager and gave me a chance, it was a new life for me. Actually, he did something right away that I think a lot of managers could learn from. It had nothing to do with tactics. He just came up to me and he said, “Toni, tell me about yourself.”

“He wanted to know where my aggression and hunger came from, and I told him about growing up in Berlin-Neukölln and how I used to play so hard on the concrete pitches that all the older kids started calling me Rambo.”

Speaking on his failed contract situation at the club, Rudiger said, “Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get difficult last fall. Business is business, but the situation becomes complicated when you don’t hear any news from the club from August to January.”

“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. And of course, I have hundreds of memories that will stay with me forever.”

Chelsea Bidders Set To Discover Their Fate

In this file photo taken on September 13, 2011, a general view of Stamford bridge is pictured before the start of the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge in London.  Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Chelsea fans could have a clear idea of who will be the next owners of the Blues this week, with American bank Raine expected to reveal their preferred bidder from among three offers.

Raine were commissioned to lead the sale process by Roman Abramovich before the Russian was hit by UK government sanctions last month over his connections to Vladimir Putin.

The European champions have since been operating under a special licence that limits their ability to sell tickets, merchandise and operate in the transfer market.

Chelsea won 19 major trophies during Abramovich’s 19-year reign and could add another when they face Liverpool in next month’s FA Cup final.

However, the impact of the sanctions is beginning to show, with rows of empty seats in the home end for Arsenal’s 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

The club also cannot offer new contracts — defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are likely to leave at the end of the season on free transfers.

The hope is that new owners will be in place by the end of the campaign.

None of the three bids is expected to run into trouble passing the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test or seeking UK government approval.

Soft loans totalling £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) from Abramovich have fuelled Chelsea’s success over the past two decades but he will not claim that money back and will not receive funds from the sale while sanctioned.

Despite those losses and the need for an expensive stadium upgrade to match their status as one of Europe’s top clubs, the sale is set to attract a world-record fee for a sports club of an estimated £2.5 billion.

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AFP Sport looks at the three bids on the table.

Boehly, Wyss, and GoldsteinSwiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss first broke the news of Abramovich’s desire to sell in an interview with newspaper Blick in his homeland.

However, it is American Todd Boehly, co-owner of Major League Baseball franchise the Los Angeles Dodgers, who is leading their bid along with British lawyer Jonathan Goldstein.

Goldstein’s loyalties as a Tottenham fan have presented a red flag for some Chelsea fans.

But Boehly has credibility with his ownership of the Dodgers, who won a first World Series for 32 years in 2020.

He has also overseen a significant stadium redevelopment at Dodger Stadium and modernisation will be needed at Stamford Bridge.

Broughton’s star power

Martin Broughton brings formidable football and business experience to the table as a former chairman of Liverpool and British Airways.

However, it is a collection of sporting stars he has assembled that has caught the eye in his bid.

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and tennis great Serena Williams have reportedly pledged to invest millions into Broughton’s consortium.

“When I heard about the opportunity, I was like wow,” said Hamilton. “This is a great opportunity to be part of something so great.”

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, a Chelsea fan, would also take a seat on the board if the bid were successful.

The major financial investment for the bid does cause a headache for the Premier League as it comes from Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who own a stake in Crystal Palace.

Harris and Blitzer would have to sell their shares in Palace before being cleared to be part-owners of Chelsea.

Stephen Pagliuca

Co-owner of National Basketball Association side Boston Celtics and Serie A club Atalanta, and co-chairman of Bain Capital, which has $160 billion in assets, Stephen Pagliuca was the last of the bidders to go public with his interest.

He has secured the support of the True Blues Consortium, a Chelsea supporters group that includes former captain John Terry.

There is even more sports business experience among his consortium.

Larry Tanenbaum owns stakes in Toronto’s ice hockey, basketball, and football teams as well as being chairman of the NBA.

Pagliuca only bought into Atalanta in February, paying a reported $450 million for a 47 percent stake.

AFP

Rudiger Delighted To Sign With Chelsea

Chelsea has signed German defender, Antonio Rudiger from Italian side AS Roma on a five-year contract, the Premier League champions said on Sunday.

Rudiger has spent the last two seasons in Serie A, arriving at Roma on loan from VfB Stuttgart in 2015 before making a permanent switch at the end of the campaign.

“For me, also, it is an honour to play for a club like Chelsea,” Rudiger, who will wear the number two shirt, said to the team’s official television station.

The 24-year-old Germany international has won 17 caps since his debut in 2014.
Manager Antonio Conte is looking to strengthen the Chelsea side that lifted the league title in his first campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Rudiger is the London club’s second signing of the transfer window after goalkeeper Willy Caballero joined as a free agent from Manchester City.

Chelsea will kick-off their 2017-18 league campaign at home against Burnley on August 12.

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