Antonio Rudiger says he was “close” to leaving Chelsea for Tottenham in September and declared his “love” for the Stamford Bridge club.
The Germany defender has proven a key man for new boss Thomas Tuchel at the heart of Chelsea’s backline.
In the 12 games Tuchel has been in charge, Chelsea have kept 10 clean sheets. Rudiger has started in eight of those games and their top-four charge is back on.
The 28-year-old had fallen down the pecking order under Frank Lampard and appeared destined to leave.
Tottenham were in for the defender and our exclusive revealed how Rudiger skipped a game back in September in order to push through the move.
Lampard though managed to steer him away from a transfer and now a change of manager has dramatically changed the outlook for Rudiger.
However, with his contract due to expire in summer 2022, Chelsea are well aware of the need to tie Rudiger down.
“Everyone here at the club knows how much I like this club, at the end of the day it is down to the people who make these decisions but for me, at the moment is to concentrate on important matches and targets,” said Rudiger ahead of Wednesday’s date with Atletico Madrid.
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“Like I always said, to me, even at the beginning of the season when things didn’t go my way, I was always calm, like now. At the end of the day I cannot give myself a contract. I love it here at Chelsea, they will always be my priority number one.
“Some things I saw coming but then I was not in the squad I didn’t see that coming but I took it on the chin.
“I was close [to leaving] there were two teams that maybe one I was considering was PSG and then there was Mourinho. I had a chat with Lampard and then I was back on the bench.”
Rudiger not chasing Suarez revenge
Chelsea will face off with Atletico in the Champions League Round of 16 second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Rudiger will be hoping for a start in a game in which he will once again match up with Luis Suarez. The pair were involved in a heated clash late in the game in Chelsea’s 1-0 win in Bucharest.
The former Barcelona striker pinched the back of Rudiger’s leg and fell to the ground. It prompted Rudiger to square up to the Uruguayan, but the Blues man will not go looking for revenge.
“To be honest, in the game itself I didn’t really feel it (the pinch). It was emotions, nothing like that, nothing special,” added Rudiger.
“He is a world class player, very good player. He has a lot of fight in him and he is a top opponent physically. He defends his badge, fights for his team.
“At the end of the day, this is not something that gives me a boost. He defends his badge, I defend mine. For me, I go with not feeling any pressure or revenge. I am just focused on our targets and that is to win the game and get through.”