The enemy who wanted to be a friend

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Antonio Rüdiger was a nightmare for Madrid almost a year ago and now, surely, he aspires to repeat. Chelsea eliminated the whites in the Champions League last year thanks, in particular, to a strong defense that suffocated the merengues’ attacks. Kanté and Jorginho handcuffed the engine room (Casemiro-Modric-Kroos) and the German led the last line of artificers. Rüdiger was one of the great enemies of Zidane’s men in the last semifinal, he will be in these quarterfinals, but, curiously, he wanted to change to friend of the group a few months ago…



Antonio Rudiger.


© Ryan Pierse (Getty Images)
Antonio Rudiger.

Rüdiger’s context changed completely during the past season. It started as expendable for Lampard, a candidate to leave Stamford Bridge, but through the back door, that of discards. However, Tuchel’s landing made the Berlin team almost automatically one of the best center-backs on the continent. The problem? What his hatching in London has come when his contract was coming to an end (this June 30). Real Madrid, like other greats (Bayern, Juventus, PSG) did not take long to knock on his door.

Rüdiger was seduced by the idea of ​​joining Madrid and, after the success of the Alaba operation, it was somewhat reciprocal. At times, the white team was at the head of the race, but released the pole position as soon as they learned of the international’s economic pretensions with the equipment. Between 11 and 12 million euros net for four seasonsa salary that would entail a higher outlay by adding the transfer bonus that accompanies the transfers as free agent. For this reason, at this time, the operation appears ruled out in the road map of the Santiago Bernabéu offices. Chelsea has also insisted in continuing to count on him, but if the renewal is delayed it is precisely for the same reason that his potential arrival in Madrid was suddenly frozen, due to the high profile he demands.

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Key in defense… and attack

Yes indeed, its performance is beyond doubt. The whites, as we advanced, already experienced it last season. A performance that Thomas Tuchel continues to enjoy in what may be his last season with the blue jersey. Artificial Intelligence, brought to football by Olocip, illuminates its importance within the scheme of the Krumbach technician. His actions place him as the best in the team in aerial duels and the second in defensive duels without change of possession (confrontations that do not end in steals), in successful defensive duels, in recoveries, in interceptions, in total defensive value…

In addition to in other variables that also highlight its offensive efficiency. The AI ​​not only measures the frequency, but the quality of the actions and there it shines in total passes, game construction or game changes, second also in all of them. Tuchel’s defensive framework cannot be understood without Rüdiger, nor without his rides line breaker or the security of their passes, an aptitude that is enhanced with footballers like Thiago Silva, Christensen or Azpilicueta as a partner. On Wednesday, these characteristics will play against Madrid, that team that, if they had pulled the trigger, could already seal an agreement to have the Berliner from July.