Antonio Rudiger has denied that financial sanctions on Chelsea have had a part to play in him eventually deciding to leave at the end of the season.
The defender’s future emerged as a key concern at Stamford Bridge heading into the campaign. He had only one year left on his deal and there was no sign of an extension on the way.
Rudiger insisted that he felt focused solely on his football, instead of letting his future dominate the talk around him.
However, since Roman Abramovich faced sanctions, Chelsea have been unable to offer new contracts – among other punishments.
And Rudiger has subsequently confirmed his plan, the German moving to Real Madrid this summer as a free agent.
Speaking after Saturday’s defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup final, though, Rudiger insisted that the sanctions have not played a part in him eventually deciding to move on.
“There was a chance but sanctions are not the problem,” the 29-year-old told the Daily Mail. “I don’t want to go too deep in things.
“At the end of the day it’s not only about one side [helping the other], it’s both sides – Chelsea have been great to me, I have been great to Chelsea.
“As always, I am very, very thankful me, my family. I became a man here. My kids were born here and everything. London and especially Chelsea will always be special to me.”
Rudiger hoped to leave Chelsea with another FA Cup triumph, having already won it once with the Blues alongside the Champions League and Europa League.
However, Liverpool won on penalties – just as they did against Chelsea in February’s Carabao Cup final.
“It’s been five years as normal with ups and downs, but with a lot of positive things,” Rudiger said of his time in London.
“That’s why I’m even more frustrated because I wanted to have a different ending.”
Rudiger, Chelsea need fresh starts
Rudiger has proven himself as a fantastic servant to Chelsea, leading the defence alongside Thiago Silva.
However, the two will now part ways and take on fresh starts from next season.
For Rudiger, it is a chance to experience a new league and join Spanish champions Madrid.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have now lost three FA Cup finals in a row. Their season looked promising in the first few weeks of the campaign, but -aside from the Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup wins – it has fizzled out.
As such, both player and club need a reset over the summer ahead of fresh challenges ahead.
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