The qualities Antonio Rüdiger will bring to Real Madrid

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The qualities Antonio Rüdiger will bring to Real Madrid

In his final season at Chelsea, Antonio Rüdiger started 54 games across all competitions, more than any other player at the club. It’s no real surprise, Rüdiger is a very good defender and would be a regular option in defence for more or less any team in the world, but it does make Chelsea’s decision to allow his contract to expire, seemingly without trying too hard to keep him, even stranger. There’s no doubt that, however Chelsea’s defence lines up next season, the loss of Rüdiger will hurt them in the Premier League winner betting.

Real Madrid swooped quickly to sign the German international, and bagging such a good defender on a free transfer will understandably be seen as something of a coup for the capital club, with Rüdiger likely to partner Éder Militão in the centre of defence, forming an imposing partnership.

The signing feels like a suitable replacement for Sergio Ramos, who left at the expiration of his contract last summer. Although Carlo Ancelotti’s side won La Liga last season, they conceded 31 goals in the process. That’s three more than they did in their previous campaign, and six more than they conceded in the 2019-20 season. With the number of goals conceded slowly creeping up, it’s easy to see why Real Madrid have swooped for Rüdiger.

There’s no doubting that the German is an intimidating presence, with a strong physique and an athletic profile. Many will highlight Rüdiger’s physicality as a real boost to the Real defence, and that’s certainly the case but, much like Ramos before him, the German offers more than just a strong presence.

A proactive defender who likes to play on the front foot, Rüdiger should fit into Ancelotti’s team seamlessly. The Italian likes his teams to dominate games, and play in an attacking manner, and Rüdiger should be a perfect fit for that style.

A naturally aggressive presence, happy to step out from the defensive line and engage opponents, the German should complement Militão’s slightly more cautious game very well. Rüdiger would also be just as natural a fit for David Alaba, and his addition to the Real roster gives Ancelotti significantly more options in terms of who anchors the centre of his defence.

He’s strong in individual duels, both on the ground and in the air, and is also comfortable  being drawn out of the centre, defending in wider positions. That’s a key attribute for a centre-back in an Ancelotti team, as the Italian’s attacking systems often sees the full backs asked to support the attack with regularity.

Rüdiger is no slouch on the ball either and, while not the world’s foremost ball-playing defender, he’ll certainly be comfortable receiving the ball from Thibaut Courtois and looking to find the Madrid midfield without too many problems.

In addition, his experience will no doubt prove invaluable. He played over 200 games while at Chelsea, in addition to over 150 more during his time at Stuttgart and Roma. In that time he’s won the Champions League, Europa League, and Club World Cup, while also winning the Confederations Cup during his time with Germany, for whom he has over a half century of international caps.

To play for Real Madrid, a player needs more than just quality. They need to be able to cope with the pressure of wearing the club’s famous white kit, and the constant demand for success that comes with it. A history of winning, and experience of playing at the top level Is just as important to slotting into the Real Madrid first team as a player’s footballing qualities and, thankfully for all parties concerned, Rüdiger more than fits the bill in all these areas.

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