Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel says “nobody likes” Antonio Rudiger’s decision to leave the club this summer as the defender closes in on a free transfer to Real Madrid.
Rudiger, whose Chelsea deal expires at the end of the season, is close to agreeing a four-year deal with Real and Tuchel revealed at the weekend he had decided to reject a new contract and join a new club.
A number of clubs across Europe – including in the Premier League – remain interested in the 29-year-old but, while talks with Real are ongoing, he is set to move to the Bernabeu.
Rudiger’s representatives held talks with Barcelona last month, while he has also been linked with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.
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Asked about the Germany international’s decision to leave, Tuchel said: “I don’t think anybody likes it. He gives everybody confidence in the dressing room. He is a unique character and plays on an outstanding level. He sometimes takes the focus towards him, he loves responsibility.
“Nobody likes this decision but we have to accept it. Like it or not there will be life at Chelsea after Toni. It is also the most important thing for us that it ends like it started, on the highest level.”
Rudiger has been a key part of Chelsea’s success in recent seasons having won five trophies with the club, including last year’s Champions League.