At 29 years of age, Rudiger is currently at the top of his game, plying his trade for Real Madrid. He started his senior career at German club VfB Stuttgart and had stints with AS Roma and Chelsea before moving to La Liga this summer.
While the defender impressed for Stuttgart and AS Roma, he really rose to prominence after Thomas Tuchel arrived at Chelsea in January 2021. Under the German tactician, he established himself as one of the best in his position and helped the Blues to UEFA Champions League glory.
Now a regular for Real Madrid, Rudiger was never known to be a calm footballer. Over the years, he has made his name as an aggressive centre-back, receiving six red cards in the process.
Explaining the reasons for his aggressiveness, Rudiger insisted that he did not become a footballer to please everyone. He went on to assert that he likes to make life uncomfortable for his opponents as a defender. He told German television channel SPORT1:
“I didn’t become a professional football player to be everyone’s friend. It’s nice when someone likes me, but I can’t please everyone. I love to defend and to be awkward [for others].”
Rudiger, who has not been sent off at club level since 2017, has matured as a player in recent years. However, he continues to play mind games with his opponents for fun. He added:
“That’s just me. I also love and need the mind games and the trash talk with my opponents, it’s just fun for me.”
The Germany international also revealed that he likes to provoke his opponents to understand them. He said:
“I like to analyze my opponents and think to myself ‘Okay, let’s see how they react if I provoke them a bit’. But it’s not like I pick someone before every game. That happens spontaneously.”
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) superstar Neymar recently labeled Rudiger a ‘scary centre-back’.
How has Rudiger fared for Real Madrid this term?
Rudiger has made nine appearances across all competitions for Real Madrid so far this season. He also scored his first goal for the club against RCD Mallorca in La Liga earlier this month, helping them win 4-1.
While the German is predominantly a centre-back, he has featured at full-back for Los Blancos this term. Having already helped them win the UEFA Super Cup, he will be keen to win more trophies this term.