I wanted to leave Chelsea because of Lampard – World-class player says

Photo: Getty images

Antonio Rudiger has revealed he came close to quitting Chelsea years ago, after he was exiled from the first team under Frank Lampard.

Rudiger, now playing with Real Madrid, spent five years at Stamford Bridge, between 2017 and 2022.

The German defender won numerous trophies during his time with the Blues, including the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, but according to him, he considered leaving the Londoners at some point because he felt he was no longer wanted by then-manger, Frank Lampard, who was in charge at Stamford Bridge between 2019 and 2021.

Photo: Getty Images

Detailing the experience to Goal, Rudiger said: “To be honest, I still can’t say exactly what happened back then. That’s part of football.

“Maybe he [Lampard] had other ideas or saw other players better. But the good thing about football is that the answer is on the pitch and I think I gave the perfect one.”

Asked if he and some of his Chelsea teammates deliberately tried to get Lampard sacked by performing poorly on the pitch, Rudiger said: “Nothing like that has ever happened in my career. I even played under Lampard again at the end of his tenure.

“Let me put it this way: if it doesn’t fit at some point, then it doesn’t fit anymore. But no footballer in this world loses on purpose.”

The centre back also revealed he was desperate to play for Thomas Tuchel, and wanted to join the Bayern Munich boss at Paris Saint-Germain at the time, but fortunately for him, fate brought them together at Chelsea, as he was later hired to replace Lampard in January 2021.

“I really wanted to leave. I wanted to leave. I wanted to join Thomas Tuchel at Paris Saint-Germain, that was my wish.

He went on: “But it didn’t happen and six months later Tuchel came from PSG to Chelsea. We then won the Champions League together. It was probably meant to be.

“I probably just fitted in better with his idea of football and he also really liked me as a guy. That I can take the lead and lead the way.

“I got on particularly well with him. His honest manner simply suited me. Also, when I look at his tactical understanding: Wow!”

Chelsea would go on to lose Rudiger for free a few years after being dumped by Lampard, as he wasn’t given a new contract early enough, and was left out to dry.