Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has revealed that Antonio Rudiger has informed him of his decision to leave Stamford Bridge on a free transfer.
The future of the Germany international has been well documented throughout this campaign, the 29-year-old naturally receiving widespread interest in his signature.
While Chelsea have always been in the conversation to retain the player’s services, the recent government-imposed restrictions have prevented the Blues from continuing to negotiate fresh terms.
After reports earlier this week suggested that Rudiger had decided to depart West London, Tuchel admitted on Sunday that one of his star men would be departing the club.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Tuchel said: “The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this is in a private talk. We gave everything – me and the club – but we could not fight anymore because of the actions.
“Without the sanctions we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but out hands are tied. We don’t take it personally. It is his decision.
“He is a key figure and will stay that way until the end of the season. But it is disappointing. We will miss him a lot. He gives courage in the dressing room. The kind everyone is afraid of, but the kind to play 50-55 games at an outstanding level. He is a top defender in the last one and a half years for me. We then need to find another solution.”
Rudiger, who did not feature during Sunday’s 1-0 victory over West Ham United due to injury, has made 47 starts for Chelsea in all competitions this season.
Real Madrid are said to be favourites to get a deal for the centre-back over the line