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Antonio Rudiger makes big contract admission as next Chelsea target is set after CWC win



Rudiger finally speaks on his contract renewal amid Chelsea stay


Antonio Rudiger has proved himself a key part of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side but will be able to walk away from the club on a free transfer when his contract expires

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger says there are “other people who have to make decisions” about whether he stays at Stamford Bridge beyond this season.

The German international has blossomed into one of European football’s finest centre-backs since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel and produced a man-of-the-match performance in the Club World Cup final win over Palmeiras on Saturday.

However, as things stand, Rudiger will be able to walk away from the Blues on a free transfer in the summer after the expiration of his contract.

Chelsea have made attempts to keep Rudiger at the club. In August, an offer in the region of £140,000 a week was put on the table but that didn’t come close to matching the 28-year-old demands, which are understood to be in excess of £200,000 a week.

Tentative discussions between the club and Rudiger’s representatives restarted before Christmas and there is hope an agreement can be struck to keep the defender in west London.

“I feel great here, I have always said it,” Rudiger told The Athletic after Chelsea’s Club World Cup triumph in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. “I think the way I play you can see that I’m happy here. But there are also other people who have to make decisions [about the future].”

Rudiger joined Chelsea from Roma in the summer of 2017 and has gone on to win the Champions League, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, the World Club Cup, and the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge.

The centre-back could add the Carabao Cup to his collection at the end of this month; Chelsea take on Liverpool in the final on February 27.

If the Blues were to come out on top at Wembley against Jurgen Klopp’s side, it would leave the Premier League as the only honour missing from his collection. And that is something Rudiger admits he would like to change.

“Of course, I want to win the Premier League,” he said. “We had never won this trophy (the Club World Cup) in Chelsea’s history before. I’m very delighted that we didn’t give up, that we did our thing. We tried everything and won.

“I just want to help, I just want to be important and lead by example. This is the main thing. We all showed character against Palmeiras. None of us gave up.

“Thiago Silva gave away the penalty (for Palmeiras to equalise) but he didn’t lack anything. He continued and continued.

“And there was a great impact from the guys who came on from the bench, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, Malang Sarr, Timo Werner and Saul Niguez. They all worked very hard.

“The Premier League is the toughest competition because Manchester City set a very high standard. We have to get to a point where we can go on a long marathon.”

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