The Chelsea defender will leave the club at the end of the season on a free transfer and is expected to join Real Madrid on a four-year contract
After five years at Stamford Bridge, the 29-year-old will depart on a free transfer in the summer and has come to terms on a four-year deal with La Liga giants Real Madrid. It is a bitter blow for Chelsea to lose the German international, who has blossomed into one of European football's finest defenders under Thomas Tuchel.
Prior to the sanctioning of owner Roman Abramovich, which has resulted in Chelsea being unable to agree contracts with players and engage in transfer activity, the Blues are understood to have made Rudiger an offer that would've made him the best-paid player in the club's history.
Yet no deal was struck and once Abramovich was sanctioned by both the UK government and the EU, Chelsea's hands were tied. But Rudiger, who started for Chelsea against Liverpool in the FA Cup final yesterday at Wembley, says that was not the problem as to why a new contract with the Blues was not signed.
“I don’t want to go into deep things," the German international replied when asked if there was a chance he would have stayed at Chelsea without the sanctions being in place. "There was a chance but sanctions was not the problem.”
Rudiger joined Chelsea from Roma in the summer of 2017 and has won the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge. That success coupled with his family enjoying life in London is why he is thankful for his time in west London.
"It’s not only about one side, it’s about both sides," Rudiger explained. "Chelsea have been great to me and I have been great for Chelsea. I am very, very thankful. Me, my family, I became a man here. My kids were born here and everything. London and especially Chelsea will always be special to me.
"It’s been five years with ups and downs as normal. There were a lot of positive things, but that’s why I’m even more frustrated because I wanted to have a different ending."
Chelsea have now lost the past thee FA Cup finals and Rudiger has been involved in each defeat. It is a frustrating and disappointing record and at odds with the Blues' recent successes on the European and world stage. Yet when asked why Chelsea have struggled to get over the line in domestic finals, Rudiger was unable to provide an answer.
"It’s a difficult one to take for myself," he said. "These are questions sometimes we don’t have an answer for. I don’t have an answer for it. It’s always difficult to say, whether we are lucky or unlucky. Personally, it’s the third time [losing an FA Cup final] so you can’t always say unlucky, unlucky, unlucky.
"At the end of the day, it’s about winning. It’s not about next season. The game was about today. It was there to take. Unfortunately, we didn’t."