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‘People like to judge too quickly’ – Rudiger on coping with pressure and becoming mentally strong

“I saw the dark side of life, now I’m playing football I see the other side. But the dark side helped me to grow.” | Antonio Rudiger | Rexona Unstoppable | Ep 3

Toni Rudiger has offered an interesting insight into how he has developed his character both on and off the football pitch, with a nod to his childhood as a key factor in developing his personality and mental strength.

In the Unstoppable series, professor, consultant and best-selling author Damian Hughes has tapped into the mindset of some of our players to find out more about what motivates, inspires and reassures them in good times and bad.

In the latest episode in partnership with Rexona, Hughes speaks to Chelsea defender Rudiger who explains how his upbringing in Berlin helped shaped him as both a player and a person and how it helped developed the character he has.

‘In my view it was the best thing that happened to me that I grew up there,’ said Rudiger of his upbringing in Berlin.

‘The part of Berlin where I grew up is known in Germany as being a particularly tough area. Only the strongest survive, so to speak.

‘I saw the dark side of life there at times. Now that I’m playing football, I see also the other side but that dark side helped me to grow as a player and as a person.’

On the pitch, Rudiger is known as a strong, committed defender but off the pitch he’s a hugely popular member of the Chelsea dressing room.

The German international, currently representing his nation at Euro 2020, believes people are often quick to judge someone without knowing the full persona of an individual.

‘People like to judge very quickly based on what they only see on the pitch because that’s the only way people know me,’ added Rudiger.

‘This is not really something that bothers me too much because I know who I am and that’s the most important thing.

‘Off the field I am the person who loves to make jokes, who wants a good vibe around. When I enter the pitch, that all changes. When I play, of course I want to win and I channel everything into football.’

Indeed the 28-year-old believes the activity that comes with being a footballer is crucial for his well-being.

‘Physical movement is part of my life,’ he said. ‘First of all it’s my job, but it’s a big passion and I love to work hard.’