Rüdiger liked playing in Real Madrid
Chelsea failed to hold a three-goal lead at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League quarter-finals and left the Champions League with their heads held high. Despite losing on aggregate, the Blues played well, including individually. It is known that two Chelsea players have impressed the coaching staff and Real Madrid bosses but if Rice James, who is viewed as a long-term replacement for Dani Carvajal, is still under consideration, the club are going to sign Antonio Rüdiger this summer as the German defender’s contract is expiring and he will be changing clubs as a free agent.
Rüdiger has been on Real Madrid’s roster since last year
Rüdiger’s performance at the Santiago Bernabeu, where he defended powerfully and scored a goal after a corner, renewed Real Madrid’s interest rather than sparked it. Even last year, when problems with Chelsea’s contract extension became known, Florentino Perez took a place in the queue of contenders, with Bayern, Juventus and PSG jostling for position next door. Back in October 2021, after the failure of the next round of negotiations with Chelsea, Antonio told his agent that in this case his priority is Real Madrid, but after the first contacts with Perez the same problem surfaced which prevented him from staying at Stamford Bridge. Money.
Antonio reduced his appetite for Real Madrid
Rüdiger asked too much from Chelsea and immediately declared his high financial appetite to other clubs. Of course, it was counted on the auction: in-demand defender wanted to bump heads with applicants for his signature. Initially it was a question of EUR 55 million for a four-year contract: 15 million as a signing bonus + 10 million per year.
Real offered Rüdiger to think better and stepped aside, but Antonio in almost four months of 2022 never agreed with anyone, and a meeting in the quarterfinals of the Champions League rekindled the spark. Perez passed compliments from Ancelotti to Rüdiger through his agent, and the latter replied that he was ready to reconsider his financial ambitions.
In the end they agreed on new terms: the same 15 million as a signing bonus + 7.5 million a year under contract. Rüdiger “moved” for 10 million euros, and Gianluca Di Marzio argues that the matter is closed, and there is no way back. There is also information that Real Madrid’s offer was not the best, PSG and MJ were willing to meet Rüdiger’s starting demands, but the defender did not want to go to France, and United refused because they wanted to be guaranteed to play in the Champions League.
Real Madrid love to sign free agents
In the past, Real Madrid did not often sign important players as free agents, but now it seems as if it is becoming part of Florentino Perez’s transfer strategy. Next season, three players signed without their previous clubs can play in the starting lineup: David Alaba, Antonio Rüdiger and Kylian Mbappe. And while the Frenchman was ready to be bought for real money last summer, both defenders have largely fallen under the radar precisely because of their expiring contracts and the search for new challenges.
All the top clubs were after Alaba and Rüdiger, to sign two such strong defenders with a year’s difference is a high-profile transfer victory and a demonstration that Madrid remain a powerful magnet for the best players. The club’s history and fresh successes, including fresh victories over PSG and Chelsea in the Champions League, and Florentino Perez’s Napoleonic plans for the near future, which Rüdiger wanted to be part of, all contribute to this.
Does Real Madrid really need Rüdiger? Changes that await the defensive line
When Real Madrid signed Alaba last year, the move looked perfectly justified: Ramos and Varan were leaving the club, the defense was in urgent need of quality reinforcement, and a versatile top-flight player was available on a free transfer. The Eder-Alaba link-up in the center of defense exceeded the expectations of skeptics, and Rüdiger’s arrival will break up the pairing that has established mutual understanding. Is it worthwhile? In short, yes.
Rüdiger’s transfer will help Carlo Ancelotti solve several obvious problems in defence that have so far been veiled by individual performances, versatility and luck. The unstoppable fighter Nacho helped a lot, and it was lucky that Eder and Alaba themselves avoided prolonged absences. At the same time, Real Madrid’s flank defenders malfunction more often than we would like: Mendy, for example, has already had five injuries this season.
The arrival of Rüdiger will, at the very least, solve the problem of the left-back. Alaba will be moved to the flank position, the more so because David likes playing there. Marcelo will leave Real Madrid and Mendy will have a strong competitor. The expected increase in power in the center of defense will also benefit because Eder and Alaba are great at reading the game, they have good instincts, but little of the natural power that Rüdiger has. It will be much more difficult to penetrate Real Madrid’s defense with Antonio.
True, there is a small disadvantage: both Eder and Rüdiger are right-footed defenders, which somewhat reduces their mutual maneuverability and especially the variability of starting attacks. Clearly, with Alaba nearby and thoughtful midfielders, this is more of a feature than a problem. “On paper, the Carvajal-Eder-Rüdiger-Alaba defense looks promising. Let’s see how they perform in matches next season.