Former Arsenal and Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil, known for his precision on the field and outspoken opinions, has taken aim at Chelsea, attributing the club’s recent struggles to the departure of defensive stalwart Antonio Rudiger. The German midfielder, who left Arsenal for Fenerbahce and Istanbul Basaksehir before retiring last year, claims that Rudiger’s absence has left a gaping hole in Chelsea’s defensive solidity.
Ozil’s Bold Claims
In a social media post responding to Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti’s praise for Rudiger, Ozil declared,
"Prime Toni Rudiger is just the world’s best defender at the moment."
He went on to challenge football stars Erling Haaland and Victor Osimhen to attest to Rudiger’s excellence. The ex-Arsenal playmaker didn’t mince words, asserting that Chelsea’s decline since Rudiger’s exit is indicative of the defender’s irreplaceable impact.
"Incredible season for my former club Real Madrid. You can also ask Haaland or Osimhen how good he is! Look what has happened with Chelsea after he left… they are missing his mentality every day…"- added Ozil.
Rudiger’s Stellar Journey
Antonio Rudiger made a pivotal move to Chelsea from Roma in 2017 for £30million. During his time at Stamford Bridge, Rudiger played a crucial role in the club’s triumphs, including winning the FA Cup, Europa League, Champions League, Super Cup, and Club World Cup. However, his tenure at Chelsea came to an end when he rejected a contract extension, opting to join Real Madrid as a free agent in 2022.
Real Madrid’s Defensive Anchor
Under Carlo Ancelotti’s guidance, Rudiger has thrived at Real Madrid. Serving as a defensive linchpin, Rudiger has filled the void left by injuries to fellow centre-backs Eder Militao and David Alaba.
The Spanish giants are currently at the top of La Liga. Their recent 1-0 win over Mallorca on Wednesday was by an incredible header from Rudiger. As reported by Daily Mirror, manager Carlo Ancelotti was impressed by the German international and said:
"He [Rudiger] has taken advantage of others’ injuries. He is performing at a very high level, with continuity. He is always ready in duels. He is an insurance that we have behind. He is playing at his best."
Chelsea’s Struggles Post-Rudiger
In stark contrast to Real Madrid’s success, Chelsea, despite significant investment by new owner Todd Boehly, finds themselves languishing in 10th place in the Premier League. Since Rudiger’s departure, the Blues have experimented with various defensive options, including Kalidou Koulibaly, Axel Disasi, Benoit Badiashile, and Levi Colwill, yet have failed to reclaim their former defensive prowess.
Ozil’s Final Verdict
Mesut Ozil’s assertion that ‘Chelsea are missing [Rudiger’s] mentality every day’ sheds light on the intangible qualities Rudiger brought to the club beyond his on-field performances. Ozil’s bold claims have ignited discussions about the long-lasting impact of a single player’s departure on a club’s overall dynamics. Rudiger’s presence in the dressing-room at Stamford Bridge among the youngsters could have had a huge impact on the Blues’ performances this term and beyond to reclaim their past glory.