Thomas Tuchel reveals Chelsea squad's reaction to Antonio Rudiger's exit decision

Jamie Spencer
Antonio Rudiger is an an important player for Chelsea
Antonio Rudiger is an an important player for Chelsea / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has admitted it was a huge blow for the rest of the squad to lose Antonio Rudiger this summer, but insists there will be ‘life after Toni’ at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues were unable to agree a new contract with Rudiger, who will now leave the club as a free agent at the end of the season when his current deal expires.

Tuchel confirmed after facing West Ham on Sunday that the German centre-back had informed the club of his plan to leave. Real Madrid are his expected next destination, with the Spanish giants confident of being able to conclude an agreement.

“I don't think that anybody likes it because Toni has been a huge factor in our one and a half seasons together,” Tuchel elaborated as he faced the press before Chelsea’s Thursday clash with Manchester United.

“He gives everybody confidence in the dressing room, he is a unique character, he is an aggressive leader, he is available over 100% of the matches, like 90% of the matches he is simply available, and he plays on an outstanding level and gives you confidence if you play next to him or around him.

“He takes the focus away from others. He takes responsibility. He loves responsibility.

“I don't think that anybody likes this decision, but in the moment, we have to accept it, and we will accept it. Like it or not, there will be life at Chelsea after Toni.

“For him and for us, it is the most important thing that it ends like it started and like it was for one and half years, on the highest level possible. This is where the focus needs to be.”

With Andreas Christensen also leaving for Barcelona, centre-back is expected to be an area of priority for Chelsea in the transfer market.

90min understands that the focus remains on Sevilla's Jules Kounde, who was a top target even before Christensen and Rudiger's decisions.

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