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Antonio Rudiger relishing Erling Haaland battle – ‘With all due respect to the other clubs I’ve played for…”

Carlo Ancelotti has for the most part won all of his critics around during the last three seasons at Real Madrid, but if there was a ‘what if’ from last season for Madridistas, it might have been leaving Antonio Rudiger on the bench against Manchester City in the second leg of their Champions League final.

That will not be the case this time around with the German set to start alongside one of Nacho Fernandez, Aurelien Tchouameni or Eder Militao in their quarter-final clash. Rudiger had shut down the Norwegian effectively last season at the Santiago Bernabeu, but when Eder Militao returned from suspension, Ancelotti fielded the Brazilian at the Eithad, in what ended in a 4-0 defeat...READ THE FULL ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE▶▶

Rudiger has led the Real Madrid defence all season, after Militao suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in their first game, and has told the UEFA website, as quoted by MD, that he is relishing another battle with Haaland.

I’m really looking forward to the duel with him, these are the matches you’ve always dreamed of and being part of this is incredible. And if it is against Erling Haaland or against whoever… They have many great players, not just Haaland. Obviously, he is a great forward. I’m really looking forward to this match, but I look forward to all matches in the same way, without differentiating.”

He also explained that the atmosphere at Real Madrid is entirely different to those he had experienced at Stuttgart, Roma or Chelsea beforehand.

“With all due respect to the other clubs I have been at, which were also great, I think they cannot be compared with Madrid. They have 14 European Cups. Here it is always about winning the Champions League without having to say it. Of course you feel the pressure, I already experienced it last year. Here you have to be willing to go to the end. Here it’s about winning. Draws or defeats are simply not an option.”

In terms of his role for Los Blancos, Rudiger also explained that part of his role was simply to make noise.

“Self-confidence has a lot to do with it. You have to give security to the team as a defensive leader. Those are the most important criteria: making noise and giving confidence to the team.”

The German defender is Ancelotti’s second-most used player this season after Fede Valverde, and while last season there was a definite divide between Rudiger and David Alaba and Eder Militao, the first-choice pair, next season Rudiger is in pole position to retain his place. His season he has held the defence together at times as it was decimated by injuries.

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Kylian Walterlin

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