Monday, May 20News That Matters

Antonio Rudiger reacts to facing Chelsea in the Champions League

Antonio Rudiger is relishing the opportunity to face his old team after Real Madrid were drawn against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League.

After Friday’s quarter-final draw, Madrid will now face the Blues with the winner of the tie set to take on either Man City or Bayern Munich for a place in the final in Istanbul.

It is the third campaign in a row that the two clubs will meet in the competition, with Real triumphing in last year’s quarter-final 5-4 on aggregate on their way to winning their 14th Champions League.

In 2021, it was Chelsea who had the upper-hand as they beat the La Liga side 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals before going on to beat City 1-0 in the final.

Much has changed since their latest clash, not least the change of allegiance for Rudiger who left the London club for Santiago Bernabeu last summer on a free transfer.

The defender was a key player for Chelsea during his five-year spell there and his presence was missed during the beginning of this campaign, though Graham Potter’s defence have started to gel in recent weeks.

He is now a major part of Real’s backline having played 37 games under Carlo Ancelotti so far and now appears excited at the possibility of playing against his former club.

‘This will be very special – Can’t wait to see so many friends again,’ the 30-year-old posted on Twitter on Friday.

Rudiger is not the only former Chelsea player in Real’s squad with Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard also there, while Mateo Kovacic will go up against his former side once again.

‘The feeling is excitement,’ Potter said in his pre-match press conference when asked about his reaction to the draw.

‘I’ve said we will try to win the Champions League and that’s the same for the other seven clubs in the draw I’m sure.

‘We will focus on Real Madrid when we get there but at the moment our thoughts are on tomorrow and Everton. I’d rather focus on Everton because the other stuff is a long way away.’

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