Madrid’s first signing of the summer, Antonio Rudiger, gave his first interview to the daily Marca.
Your feelings, less than a week after the announcement of your transfer to Madrid?
I’m very proud and I haven’t realized what all this means yet, because I haven’t been to Madrid yet. I will go with all my family after the international break and I think that then I will take the measure of what it means to sign in Madrid.
Is this the biggest step of your career?
I think in football as in life, these are new chapters for me. Of course, it’s a very big new chapter, it’s a big step for me. Probably the greatest of my entire career.
Tell me the truth. How many offers did you have?
It is true that I had many discussions but if I am honest, I only considered those of Real Madrid and Chelsea.
What’s the first thing you think of when Real call you?
The first time I heard about Real… It was something like “Wow!” The first time they contacted me was in September or October, I believe. A club like that doesn’t call you often, it was amazing.
What were you thinking when you played at the Bernabeu with Chelsea?
It was my first time playing it. You look up to the sky and you see the whole structure of the works… You realize that this is a special place and that you want to play these matches, play in these stadiums. Not only against Madrid, but you also want to be part of it. Unfortunately, things didn’t go the way we wanted and they were champions afterwards. Congratulations to them.”
Did you like the stadium?
Of course, yes. I saw the photos of what it will look like when the work is finished, it will be much better. I want to play it.
Have you spoken with Ancelotti?
Yes, it was a welcome conversion, once it was all over. He told me that everyone was happy to welcome me to Madrid and I’m very happy about that. It is clear that he is one of those who make this Real very strong. But there are Benzema, Kroos, Modric, Casemiro too…
You arrive in the club of 14 LDCs. Does that require additional pressure?
Yes, there is pressure, but that’s the story of Real Madrid. They are used to winning and that’s the mentality: winning. But this one goes well with my character.
How is Rudiger off the pitch?
I am the complete opposite of what you see on the pitch. I don’t see myself as a star, I’m a normal guy. I am privileged because I have a good life, I play in big clubs and that’s why I like to give back to the community what football gives me. I like helping hospitals, being present in Sierra Leona… We weren’t people with money, although I always felt rich with my family. Because the real wealth is the family.
Your whole family is going to Madrid?
My parents live in Sierra Leona, my sister lives in Berlin and my brother in Trier… My wife and my two children come with me to Madrid.
What are you going to say to the Madridistas on the first day?
What I’m going to tell the fans and my teammates is easy for me and I can already tell them. I will give my heart to every game and every action. I can promise you that. I’m going to give 100% every day.”