Speaking in an interview with GQ (h/t AS), Real Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger has claimed that one of his biggest goals is to win the UEFA Champions League with the club.
The German international signed for Real Madrid last summer, arriving on a free transfer after his contract with Chelsea had expired.
Rudiger has been unable to nail down a place in the starting XI thanks to the presence of Eder Militao and David Alaba ahead of him in the pecking order.
But the physical and aggressive centre-back has delivered almost every time he has taken the pitch for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Goals and motivation
So far, Rudiger has made 53 appearances for Real Madrid, scoring two goals, while winning the Copa del Rey and the FIFA Club World Cup. However, the German international has his sights set on much bigger prizes at Real Madrid.
“I don’t feel I’ve won everything, to be honest. One of the big objectives I have is to win the Champions League with Real Madrid. If I don’t win it, it’s like a failure. I’m 30 years old, I’m in my prime and I’m very hungry for titles,” he said.
Talking about football in Spain, Rudiger stated: “It is very technical. There are very good players. All the teams try to play football and that’s what I like the most. Nobody stays back and they throw long balls. It’s also very intense, it’s high-level football.”
Rudiger also spoke in detail about what motivates him every time he steps on the field, as he said: “The most important motivation for me comes from my family. They see in me what no one else sees in me.
“They know better than anyone when I’m not in a good mood and they help me. For me the family is a motivation and it’s an emotion, it’s something that pushes me forward. If you play for Real Madrid and you’re not motivated by it, you have a problem.”
One of Rudiger’s best performances in Real Madrid colours came in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final clash against Manchester City, where he completely nullified the threat of Erling Haaland.
When asked about that display, he said: “I was absolutely calm. I know how far I can go if I am 100% physically and mentally.
“A circumstance was created that I love. In the days before, the media was wondering if I was going to be able to defend Haaland. There were a lot of doubts in the atmosphere and if I’m honest, I love that atmosphere: I shine even more when people doubt me.”
Racism in Spain
Over the past season, Real Madrid players, particularly Vinicius Jr, have been subjected to racist abuse by opposition fans. When asked if he had experienced the same since joining the club, Rudiger said:
“If you ask me if anyone has been racist towards me in Spain, the answer is no. There was a misunderstanding in Cádiz. There was a misunderstanding in Cádiz: it was published that they had been racist with me but I didn’t hear them.
“If you ask me if Vinícius Jr suffers from it, it’s obvious that he does. And when they insult him and are racist towards him, they are automatically racist towards me, even if they didn’t say it directly to me. But this is not just a problem in Spain, it happens everywhere.”
When asked if he thins Spain is a racist country, Rudiger replied: “Racism is a lack of education. I have always said it and I always repeat it. It’s important to say that it’s not all Spaniards, it’s some idiots.
“There are many Spaniards who do not tolerate racism. It is very important to point out that racists are only a minority in this country, but they need to be corrected.
“How do we put an end to this problem? The only thing I can say is to educate your children at school. It is very important that everybody knows that we are all equal.”
On how he is experiencing life in Madrid, the defender added: “I am very happy. I love the enormous amount of food options. I love Spanish food, although many of their dishes have pork in them, because of my religion I can’t eat it.
“But I’m really looking forward to trying Paella. Above all, what I like the most is that there are people from many different backgrounds living in peace. There are South Americans, African-Americans, Spaniards… all living in peace.”
On his pre-match rituals, Rudiger said: “I’m a Muslim. I believe in God and that’s why I like to pray before games. I pray that all the players, those in my team and the rivals will not be injured and I also pray for all the people at the stadium. I don’t need much, just to pray.”
Real Madrid rising star suffered against Atletico due to veteran forward’s absence, says Simeone
Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid was not the first time were in trouble this season. In fact, the Merengues have gone behind early in almost every league game so far.
However, the difference on Sunday night was that they never really mounted a comeback. More importantly, Jude Bellingham did not come good, for the first time.
Simeone unravels the mystery
A jubilant Diego Simeone spoke to the media after his side downed Real Madrid by three goals to one and spoke about a plethora of topics.
Interestingly, he commented specifically on why Bellingham did not have an impact at Civitas Metropolitano, citing the absence of Joselu as a key factor.
“No, the spaces were reduced and I think that Joselu’s lack of presence left him with fewer chances to get there, when he takes advantage of Joselu’s aerial play. We controlled him better, he’s extraordinary,” he said, as quoted by AS.
He even called out the refereeing on the night and insisted that the Real Madrid star-boy should have seen red for his late tackle on Angel Correa, saying:
“It looked like a sending-off to me live, it was a hard leg up, with Angelito hitting the ball.”
Ironically, he defended his defender Jose Maria Gimenez for an equally threatening tackle on the night.
“A bad foul, it’s a yellow card because it goes sideways. Bellingham goes from the front and I think it’s a bit more,” he stated paradoxically.
No time to lament
The game at Civitas Metropolitano may not have gone Real Madrid’s way. Yet, it is good for the Merengues to taste defeat early and see the gaping holes in their dynamic.
Carlo Ancelotti admitted in his press conference that he bore the lion’s share of the fault for Sunday’s loss and that he would have done things differently if given the chance.
“Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos have a hectic schedule ahead with two games in the next five days and a UCL fixture against Napoli next week. With Vinicius Jr back, one hopes they find their mojo once again.