Rudiger, who will be introduced as a Real Madrid player on July 20, spent five seasons at Chelsea, winning the FA Cup in 2018, the Europa League in 2019, and the Champions League in 2021, but he turned down a contract extension offer from the club.
Madrid were impressed by Rudiger’s performance in their Champions League quarterfinal tie against Chelsea in April, when the centre-back scored in a 3-2 second-leg win at the Bernabeu, ensuring Chelsea’s elimination 5-4 on aggregate.
The defender’s representatives had contacted the LaLiga club earlier this season, but the club had ruled out a move at the time due to the likely costs involved.
After the Champions League second leg, their position shifted, and a deal was struck quickly, with Rudiger’s desire to play for Madrid and a reduction in his wage demands seen as crucial.
After signing David Alaba from Bayern Munich last year, Madrid has taken advantage of the availability of a top-level defender on a free transfer for the second consecutive season. With his arrival, Rudiger, Alaba, and Eder Militao will compete for the position of first-choice centre-back for Real Madrid, though the versatile Alaba could also play left-back.
Rudiger was a Bundesliga player for Stuttgart before joining Roma in 2015. Chelsea purchased him for €35 million two years later.
He became one of Europe’s most highly-rated central defenders under coach Thomas Tuchel, starting in Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League final win over Manchester City in May 2021.
Tuchel called Rudiger “a key figure” and “the kind to play 50-55 games at an outstanding level, a top defender in the last one-and-a-half years” when he confirmed his departure on April 24.
Rudiger has been a regular for Germany in recent years, starting all four of their Euro 2020 qualifiers and seven of their World Cup qualifiers.
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