Real Madrid center-back Antonio Rudiger talked to Sport1 and shared his thoughts about his first months in the Spanish capital. Rudiger signed for Real Madrid as a free agent this summer.
“My first few months in Madrid couldn’t have been better, I agree. The results were good, we’re having fun as a team and I adapted well. If I’m being honest, no other team made it so easy for me to fit right in,” said Rudiger.
The defender revealed his nickname inside the team’s dressing room.
“Yeah, Toni was already picked since that’s how everyone calls Toni Kroos. The coaching staff calls me Antonio and my teammates call me Rudi. Needless to say, they’ve all realized that I’m a completely crazy guy,” he added.
When asked about how that personality fits in the club, Rudiger was clear.
“I have to think about Pepe, he was my role model when he was a Real Madrid player, I always wanted to be like him. I used to watch videos of him, I was young and wanted to prove everyone that I could be a tough guy too. Pepe was ridiculously good, not only in duels but also in the structure of the game. Now everyone tells me that he was really calm outside the field, and guess what? He was the only player I waited for an hour to get his jersey. Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Thiago Silva are the three jerseys I’m more proud of having. True legends!” he explained.
Rudiger went on and talked about David Alaba and Eder Militao, the team’s two starting center-backs who are still ahead of him in the rotation.
“I’ve known David for many years now, same like Toni, Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard. He helped me a lot when I came here, with him we have a three-time Champions League winner with a lot of experience and with Militao we have a younger player who has already accomplished a lot, when I look at him I see myself when I was 24 years old, we defend the same way,” he said.
Rudiger added that Toni Kroos was the one player who surprised him the most.
“We always got along well and with respect in the national team, but only exchanged a few words here and there, maybe we didn’t have enough time. I’ve met another Toni Kroos in Madrid. He talks really good Spanish, is very open and friendly and also very helpful. He helped me with the language since day 1 and offered his help in other things, he’s a very calm guy,” he explained.
Rudiger concluded his interview by revealing a quick anecdote about coach Carlo Ancelotti.
“I had been in our new house in Madrid for just a few hours with my family. We were having a barbecue and then the bell rang. I opened the door and Ancelotti was there! Wow! He sat with us, had lunch with us and met my family, he’s a very friendly and open man. He stayed with us for two hours, we talked about everything. I’ll be honest, I had never experienced anything like that with other coaches. After just these first few months I have to say that nobody comes close to Ancelotti when it comes to how he treats players. He’s a coaching legend who collected Champions League trophies when I was just a kid. Working with him every day in the world’s biggest club is just wonderful,” he concluded.