Antonio Rudiger was full of praise for his team-mates’ efforts in our Champions League final victory, especially the heroic performances of his fellow defenders.
Chelsea defeated Manchester City in an all-English final in Porto to become champions of Europe for the second time in the club’s history.
Our German centre-back could not have been happier after lifting the trophy on his first appearance in a Champions League final, but admits it might take some time for the magnitude of the team’s achievement to fully sink in.
‘It makes me feel proud,’ he said. ‘This is something I couldn’t imagine, but now it’s finally true and I will need some days to realise it.’
We emerged victorious from a largely even contest at the Estadio do Dragao, coming out on top in the decisive moments to score the opening goal through Kai Havertz and restrict Man City to just a solitary shot on target during the whole game.
That makes it three victories in three meetings with Pep Guardiola’s side across three different competitions for the Blues under Thomas Tuchel, with Rudiger highlighting our determination and confidence as key factors.
‘I think against a team like this you have to suffer. You know that they will have the ball, you know that you will suffer and you have to be ready for it.
‘And the chances you have, you need to finish them off, and we knew that we were going to get the chance.’
Of course, after taking the lead in the first half, the victory owed much to the way we defended and snuffed out the Man City threat.
According to Rudiger, every player deserves credit for the way we defended as a team, even if he had special praise for his fellow defenders.
‘We all did well. From the front to the back, everybody defended properly,’ added the German international.
‘But at the end of the day, us defenders are the last line, so we have to do the job well and we did it excellently.
‘Christensen came on and he was straight in the game, Azpilicueta was a warrior, Reece was a warrior, Chilwell was a warrior. This is how we had to be and I’m proud.’