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Antonio Rudiger

BIOGRAPHY

Antonio Rudiger joined Chelsea from Italian side Roma on 9 July 2017. He signed a five-year contract.

A tough tackler, Rudiger is quick on his feet and a commanding presence in the air. Despite having spent most of his career playing in central defence, he is equally comfortable at full-back.

Born in Berlin, Rudiger spent time in the youth set-up at Borussia Dortmund before moving to Stuttgart. He made his Stuttgart debut in a 2012 game against Borussia Monchengladbach at the age of 18, and firmly established himself as a first-team regular during the 2013/14 campaign.

In 2015 he moved to Roma, initially on loan, and after a successful maiden season in Serie A the deal was made permanent and he arrived at Stamford Bridge having acquired European experience in both the Champions League and Europa League.

He featured frequently for Germany at youth international level and made his debut for the senior side in a friendly against Poland in May 2014.

Having been called up to the reigning world champions’ Euro 2016 squad, Rudiger subsequently missed the tournament through injury but he was a key performer in their 2017 Confederations Cup victory in Russia. He was part of the defence which kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Chile in the final.

He came on as a substitute for Chelsea in the Community Shield against Arsenal in August 2017 and made his full debut the following weekend in a home game against Burnley. He continued to be used regularly by Antonio Conte in the first half of the season, both on the left and on the right of a back-three defence.

Rudiger scored his first Chelsea goal in a Carabao Cup win over Everton in October 2017 and his first in the Premier League was the only goal of the game when Swansea were defeated at Stamford Bridge the following month (above). Another headed goal followed in a big win over Stoke in the last game of 2017, but the German did have the misfortune of being involved in two deflections that majorly contributed to Arsenal knocking us out of the Carabao Cup at the semi-final stage.

He had better luck in the FA Cup, which ended with a win at Wembley and Rudiger being named the man of the match for a solid showing on the left of the back three. It was a position he made his own for the closing months of a good first campaign at Chelsea. 

2018/19

Rudiger played the majority of the campaign in the heart of a back four alongside David Luiz. He was a standout performer under Maurizio Sarri until a serious knee injury sustained in April brought his season to a premature close. He scored his only goal of the season against Manchester United, powering home the opening goal in a 2-2 draw.

Despite his injury he still started 44 games in all competitions for the Blues and was the sixth-highest player in terms of minutes spent on the pitch. He was in Baku to celebrate with his team-mates following our emphatic Europa League final victory over Arsenal, which helped atone for the Carabao Cup final shoot-out loss to Man City three months prior when Rudiger had excelled. 

International

In November 2017 he played for Germany at Wembley against England in a friendly international which finished goalless.

He was named in the 2018 Germany World Cup squad and started one game, their 2-1 win over Sweden, as the holders suffered a disappointing group-stage exit from the competition.