Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Antonio Rudiger has decided to leave Chelsea. The German coach said that Rudiger, who was out injured against West Ham, informed the German coach in a private talk.
Tuchel noted that the club’s sanctions prevented them from being able to compete for the defender’s signature any longer. The summer will bring an end to Rudiger’s Chelsea tenure that started in 2017 when he signed from Roma.
football.londonreported on Saturday that the 29-year-old had made his decision to depart Chelsea. The Blues are believed to have made an offer to Rudiger before sanctions were in place, preventing them from agreeing to a new deal with the German international, indicating there was an opportunity for Rudiger to accept a deal.
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Tuchel told Sky Sports: “Toni, the media is on it. The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this is in a private talk. 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.”
The Blues boss faced more questions from the press over Rudiger’s situation and the future in his post-match press conference. Tuchel, who has relied on Rudiger’s presence throughout his tenure at Chelsea, said that the defender could return to action against Manchester United and reflected on the situation.
He added: “We had big offers for him and the club tried everything. But for some weeks, we can’t fight anymore. We can’t continue. He has a groin injury and, in the other, a hamstring. He is someone who plays through pain anyway and is used to it. It’s muscle pain, huge discomfort, and he feels insecure because he is not used to muscle injuries.”
The former Stuttgart ace has been linked closely to the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and PSG over the course of the season, having started the term apart from the Blues in his salary expectations.