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Rudiger talks Real Madrid dream, Zidane, Ronaldo, Ancelotti: “Carlo has his own way and he does it perfectly”

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Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid signed Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer in 2022, after his contract at Chelsea expired, and the German defender has evolved into one of the key pieces in Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Rudiger is currently in a recovery phase after sustaining a muscle injury to his thigh, but the player’s camp is optimistic that he could be prepared to play Sevilla on Sunday.

The 30-year-old spoke to GOAL Germany in a recent interview and touched upon a variety of topics, including his time at Real Madrid so far and his memories of the club as a child.

When asked how much he learned about the Galacticos as a child, Rudiger responded that Zinedine Zidane’s iconic strike against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League final will always be etched in his memory.

To be honest, not really much. But what will always stay in my memory is the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen – that goal from Zinédine Zidane. That’s always been in my head,” he stated.

The 30-year-old also regarded Real Madrid legend Ronaldo Nazario as one of his first role models, claiming:

George Weah played a big role for me back then! Because he was the only African to win the Ballon d’Or. After that, it was Ronaldo “El Fenómeno” around 2002.

It is of course a shame that he defeated Germany in the World Cup final. But Ronaldo was still an inspiration for me.

Rudiger has been an apprentice under several Italian coaches. When asked if they differ in their approach from the other coaches he has played for, the German highlighted their demanding approach as a common trait, with the exception of Carlo Ancelotti:

“I have to honestly say that all Italians are really very demanding. But Carlo Ancelotti is really very relaxed about it. Conte really needed a lot of discipline.

Tactically it was at a very high level – just a really good coach. Luciano Spalletti is really great. When I see the work he did at Napoli: crazy.”

Acknowledging Ancelotti as a ‘feel-good coach’ for the players, Rudiger remarked: “Carlo has his own way and he does it perfectly, he just seems natural. 

“Of course, he gets angry sometimes, but under Carlo, we all go in the same direction – and that’s exactly how it is perfect.”

Rudiger was asked to share his experience of playing for the Merengues, having plied his trade in the Spanish capital for more than half a year.

“This is something I dreamed of. That was never present in my mind. For me, the Premier League was the ultimate goal.

“I definitely wanted to play in the Premier League, but at top clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid – it’s just a bonus for the hard work I’ve put in all these years,” he answered.

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Real Madrid News

Bundesliga title-winner ‘is ready for Real Madrid’, says former German great

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Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with Sport BILD (h/t AS), Germany legend Michael Ballack has claimed that Bayer Leverkusen sensation Florian Wirtz is ready to play for Real Madrid.

Wirtz is a player that Real Madrid have been closely monitoring for a while now, with the German sensation being seen as a long-term replacement for Toni Kroos, who announced his retirement yesterday.

A move for Wirtz is being planned for the summer of 2025 and Ballack believes that the Bundesliga title winner with Leverkusen is ready for the big move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Wirtz is ready for Real Madrid,” said Ballack.

“In terms of football, Wirtz can definitely play for Real Madrid. You can also see it in Jude Bellingham after his move from BVB: when you play with even better players, you become even better,” he added.

The Toni Kroos replacement? (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Wirtz has a contract with Bayer Leverkusen that runs until the summer of 2027. As things stand, the new German champions have no intentions of selling their prized asset this year.

However, there appears to be an acceptance that the German international will be on the move in 2025.

Other top clubs like Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also understood to be interested, but Real Madrid are likely to beat them in the race should it come down to that next year.

A move for Wirtz, though, could cost in excess of €100 million for Real Madrid should they do indeed decide to proceed with his signing next year.

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