After enduring a difficult time in the first half of the season at Chelsea, Antonio Rüdiger can finish the campaign on a high, if the west London club beat Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday.
The defender was allowed to leave the Blues last summer, but he failed to get a move away from the club, even after Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur showed interest.
Kicker have published a detailed interview with the Germany international and they asked if he was disappointed with the lack of support he received from Frank Lampard and Chelsea.
“I was really about to leave. It was the start of a season with a European Championship at the end, and then I felt it was my duty, towards DFB, to look for alternatives so that I got enough playing time,” he said.
“PSG and Thomas Tuchel [who was at PSG last summer] were the most serious option. I also had contact with Tottenham Hotspur and José Mourinho, whom I really appreciate as a coach. In the end, that was out of the question. In the end, with other options, I ran out of time to clarify all the details.”
Spurs sacked José Mourinho in April and he’s already landed a job for himself after AS Roma appointed him as their new manager for next season. Recent reports have linked the player to return to AS Roma.
Regarding the Roma links, Rüdiger said: “I always hold back on rumours… But let’s go back to last summer: It really wasn’t easy for me. I wanted to work hard, ‘work in silence’, as the English say, in peace, and wait for my chance. It was a very difficult time for me.”
“I wasn’t even in the squad after being a regular. But everything has turned out differently in the meantime, the rest is history. I’m not angry with anyone today.”
Rüdiger has a year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge and the centre-back has already admitted he will hold talks with the Premier League side over his future after Euro 2020. The 28-year-old now wants to focus on upcoming fixtures with club and country.
“We have a lot of important games, I have an important tournament and I don’t want to be distracted,” he concluded.
“But Chelsea FC will always be my number one point of contact. I am a man of my words: after Euros, we can talk. That’s nice and I’m happy too. But my words were clear, the coach knows that too.”