Antonio Rudiger has revealed the sanctions imposed on Chelsea by the United Kingdom government did not play any part in his decision to leave the club.
The Germany international has signed a four-year contract with Real Madrid, with his deal at Stamford Bridge due to expire at the end of June.
Rudiger has become one of the Premier League's best defenders over the past two years, having suffered a clunky start to his Blues career, and will join a Real side who have just won La Liga and have a Champions League final against Liverpool to look forward to.
Speaking after Chelsea's FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool, the former Roma centre-back spoke of his fond memories of his time in England.
He said: "I don’t want to go too deep into things. There was a chance [of staying] but sanctions were not the problem.
"It’s been five years with ups and downs as normal. There were a lot of positive things, but that’s why I’m even more frustrated because I wanted to have a different ending [with a cup win].
"It’s about both sides. Chelsea have been great to me and I have been great for Chelsea. I am very, very thankful, both me and my family. I became a man here. My kids were born here and everything. London, and especially Chelsea, will always be special to me."
Chelsea are facing uncertainty over the futures of a few more defenders. Cesar Azpilicueta has been linked with Barcelona, though a one-year extension in his contract was recently triggered, and Andreas Christensen is due to leave for Camp Nou despite the Blues' late efforts to convince him to stay.