Premier League • England

Antonio Rudiger reveals Barcelona snub after being unveiled by Real Madrid

Antonio Rudiger Real Madrid June 2022

Antonio Rudiger has said he turned down Barcelona before signing for Real Madrid in what will be “the biggest challenge” of his career, according to Florentino Perez.

The former Chelsea central defender  was unveiled in the Spanish capital on Monday afternoon. The 29-year-old has signed a four-year contract after leaving Stamford Bridge on a free transfer.

Rudiger was a wanted man. The Germany international turned down a lucrative new deal to remain at Stamford Bridge. He was also wanted in Catalonia, but he told his brother it was “Real Madrid or nothing”.

“Yes, there was interest from Barcelona,” he told a press conference. “But I told my brother it was Real Madrid or nothing.

“What I can promise is, I will give everything for the club and I want to win as many trophies as possible.

“You come to a big, big, massive club – that’s a huge step for myself. But I try to enjoy the pressure.

“I see myself as fortunate to be here, to do what I love.

“I was in the trophy cabinet of Real Madrid and there the pressure starts. This is something that you cannot run away from. You have to try to enjoy it.”

Ancelotti sway for Rudiger

Rudiger’s exit from Chelsea had been one of the worst kept secrets in football.

His agent was first in contact with Real last September before a chat with Carlo Ancelotti in April convinced him to move to the Bernabeu.

“That was the most important moment to speak with Mr Ancelotti and then I made also made my choice that I want to play for this club and under him,” said Rudiger.

“The conversation was that he wants me, he trusts in my abilities and that I can be very helpful for him and to the team.

“At my age, where I am right now, this is enough. And, at the end of the day, it’s Mr Ancelotti.

“You know in Madrid, you will have competition and in general nothing is guaranteed so you have to fight for your place and that is why I am here, I am ready to do that.”

Perez lays down gauntlet

Rudiger was joined in Madrid by his wife, children, parents and brother.

Club president Perez said representing Real will be the “biggest challenge” of the player’s career.

“This club attracts the best players in the world,” said Perez. “We are proud that this is the case and today is another example as a world-class footballer is joining.

“You could have chosen any of many great clubs but you selected Real Madrid. Hopefully we can give you that opportunity to triumph where other clubs can’t.

“This will be the biggest challenge of your career. Now you’re going to write another page in your history book. Lots of responsibility comes when you join this club and bear the Real Madrid emblem.”

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