Antonio Rudiger has hailed Thomas Tuchel for his role in helping him revive his career at Chelsea this past year.
During an interview with Guardian, Antonio Rudiger has recently opened up about his sensational revival at Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel. The German defender has thanked his compatriot for his role in helping him thrive at Stamford Bridge and relaunching his career after a difficult phase under Frank Lampard.
Formerly of VfB Stuttgart, Rudiger joined Chelsea back in 2017. He was brought in by Antonio Conte, who was impressed by his performances at AS Roma. The centre-back was a major part of the Chelsea backline during the first two seasons of his career in England, although the club was met with mediocrity as they failed to keep up with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.
Rudiger’s role in the team shifted after the arrival of Lampard. The former Chelsea midfielder’s all-out attacking approach came at the expense of a myriad of defensive frailties. And more often than not, the German emerged as the scapegoat.
Speaking about his difficult phase under Lampard and the criticism he faced from fans and media, Rudiger said, “It was crazy. At some point you were the Buhmann [bogeyman]. You were a bad person to have around from what I heard. For me, it was good. At the end of the day you cannot close people out. They will always keep speaking and that’s not why I play football, but it was good that I came out as a winner.”
The 28-year-old’s fortunes at Chelsea soon changed after the appointment of Thomas Tuchel earlier in the year. The German tactician re-established a proper role for the defender and entrusted him with the opportunity to emerge as the undisputed leader in the team, despite the presence of Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva.
“Tuchel gave me new life,” Rudiger said before continuing, “I wouldn’t say he said: ‘You have to be the biggest speaker in the dressing room.’ I’m not like this. I like to show everything on the pitch. He told me what he expects – my natural game: to be aggressive, to be a leader.”
Since the arrival of Tuchel, Rudiger has emerged as one of the best defenders in the Premier League, most notably winning the UEFA Champions League title last season. However, his long-term future has come under serious doubt in recent weeks.
Rudiger’s contract at Stamford Bridge expires at the end of the season, with the defender holding out for hefty new terms. Chelsea have not come any closer to meeting his demands so far, which could lead to a departure, with Tottenham and Manchester City ready to snap him up on a free transfer next summer.