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Rüdiger: “It’s understandable that some opponents want to hurt Vinícius”

His first Champions League press conference as a Real Madrid player.

Real Madrid CF v RCD Mallorca - LaLiga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Antonio Rüdiger was the player who spoke in Tuesday’s Champions League press conference ahead of Real Madrid’s match against RB Leipzig, a team with players who the German centre-back knows well. Previewing the match, he said: “Playing a home Champions League game in the Bernabéu is a pleasure. There are some nerves of course, but I’m mostly excited. The fans here are great. We know that RB Leipzig have excellent players and are very good in attack, but I hope we’ll have a good game. I’ve known Timo Werner for a while, so it’ll be nice to see him again on the pitch. But, he won’t be my friend this time. He’ll be my opponent. I’ll do all I can to stop him.”

Rüdiger on Neymar’s “scary” comment

After Neymar recently labelled Rüdiger as a “scary” player in an interview, the German was asked about this label. He said: “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know if I’m scary. I like to be aggressive, but in a fair way, and the stats back that up. In the last five years, I don’t have any red cards.”

Rüdiger on opponents’ frustration with Vinícius

Discussing the aggression that Vinícius has suffered against certain opponents in recent weeks, Rüdiger had an interesting answer as he spoke from the point of view of a defender. He said: “Vinícius is a great player and everyone knows it. In the dressing room, he is calm and nice to be around and then he does all he can to win on the pitch. He’s all about dribbling. Maybe there will be some opponents who try to hurt him and that’s understandable. I’ve done that in the past, as you need to stop your opponent. In some circumstances, it’s normal. But, you always have to respect the opponent. We all do our jobs and fulfil our roles, which is what he’s doing too.”

Rüdiger on speaking different languages

Asked about his start to life in the Spanish capital and his communication with his teammates, the defender replied: “For me, it’s important for there to be communication on the pitch. We speak before and during the match. I try to speak in Spanish on the pitch and I think they understand me. I think it’s normal to speak Spanish, even with Alaba, since we’re in Spain. The fact I can speak Italian helps too.”

Rüdiger on scoring goals

The summer signing just scored against Real Mallorca on Sunday and was asked about this side to his game. He said: “Scoring goals is one of my strengths. I like to get forward and score. Of course, I always work to score as many goals as possible. Last year I scored five goals and this year I’d like to finish with more than that.”

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