Antonio Rüdiger is excited to face his former club for the first time since leaving Chelsea after Real Madrid drew against The Blues in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The 30-year-old moved to Santiago Bernabau in the summer after his contract with the Blues expired following a successful five-year spell in West London. Rüdiger has been a mainstay at Los Blancos since his move, making 37 appearances in all competitions to date.
Although Rüdiger’s Real are nine points behind leaders Barcelona in LaLiga, their form in the Champions League has been exemplary despite losing once to RB Leizpig. They topped their group ahead of German side, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic, taking 13 points from a possible 18.
After a comfortable win over Liverpool 6-2 on aggregate in the last 16, Real’s reward is a quarter-final draw against Chelsea, set to take place next month. Carlo Ancelotti’s side defeated the Reds 5-2 in the first leg at Anfield before winning 1-0 in Spain earlier in the week.
Meanwhile, Graham Potter’s Blues scraped past Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on aggregate thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz. After the draw was made, Rüdiger commented on social media and is enjoying the chance to meet his former employers for the first time.
“This will be very special. I can’t wait to see so many friends again,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday. Rüdiger’s post received a lot of love from the Chelsea supporters. However, some reminded the defender that they are more keen than ever to beat his side in the last eight.
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Rüdiger isn’t the only ex-Chelsea player to now represent Real Madrid, with Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard the other two having made the switch in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Meanwhile, Mateo Kovacic will face his former team again after he had faced Real in the past two seasons.
Potter spoke about his side’s draw at his pre-Everton press conference on Friday afternoon and admitted he is looking forward to the two-legged draw against Los Blancos. “The feeling is excitement. I’ve said we’ll try to win the Champions League and it’s the same for the other seven clubs in the draw, I’m sure,” said Potter.
However, he revealed that he wants to focus on Chelsea’s Premier League campaign for now. Potter added: “We will focus on Real Madrid when we get there, but at the moment our thoughts are on tomorrow and Everton. I prefer to focus on Everton because the other things are still a long way off.”
Before Chelsea make the trip to Madrid for the first leg on April 11, they have four crucial league games in the form of Everton, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Wolves to close the gap in the Champions League places. They are currently 11 points behind Tottenham in fourth place in the table.
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