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Antonio Rudiger talks Real Madrid, Ancelotti, Benzema, Modric, Vinicius, Rodrygo

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Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Antonio Rudiger sat down with Guardian in an exclusive interview, where he backed Germany to be one of the favourites for the FIFA World Cup. He also talked about his time at Chelsea, notably hailing former manager Thomas Tuchel.

At the same time, the former Stuttgart starlet heaped praise on his current club Real Madrid as well, particularly highlighting the ingenuity of coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Formerly of Chelsea, the German international joined Real Madrid on a free transfer in the summer. Since then, he has become a crucial member of the Madrid backline, having already racked up 17 competitive appearances this season.

“Chelsea was a chapter on its own. It was great, great, great. But Real Madrid is the elite club in football. This says it all: in the past nine years winning five Champions Leagues.”Real Madrid is the elite club in football. This says it all: in the past nine years winning five Champions Leagues,” Rudiger said.

Playing at Real Madrid has given Rudiger the opportunity to play with some of the most talented players in world football including Luka Modric and Karim Benzema.

“As a striker, the way he moves, the ability is just ‘wow’,” Rudiger said when asked about Benzema. He also heaped praise on the veteran Modric and his magical right foot, adding, “It’s normal for him. I barely see him pass with his left foot.”

Rudiger went on to talk about Carlo Ancelotti. He suggested that the Real Madrid coach has revolutionised the team since being appointed as the manager.

“He’s calm,” he said. “He is from a generation where I never thought I’d train under him. That is already a wow effect. I never saw something like his man-management before. The first day I arrived here for the presentation he came to my home and sat with my family. I thought: ‘This is not normal.’ No coach ever did it for me.”

Apart from his comments on Real Madrid players and staff, Rudiger highlighted how he will be expected to play the role of a team leader when Germany kickstart their World Cup campaign on November 23 against Japan.

“I am one of the players who’s been there longest. I have to be one of the leaders,” he said.

Rudiger also pointed out Brazil as a dangerous team at the World Cup, name-checking his Real Madrid teammates Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo as some of the threats that the Selecao boast of.

“Vinícius, Rodrygo. I could name 10 more. They’re a scary team. But you never know what can happen in 90 minutes,” the German defender said.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano

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Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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