Antonio Rudiger was called upon to handle pre-match press conference duties by UEFA ahead of Chelsea’s second-leg tie against Atletico Madrid, with the defender making some brilliant comments.
One moment from the Blues’ 1-0 win in the first-leg that went quite viral on social media was a little right between the Chelsea centre-back and the notoriously difficult Luis Suarez.
Rudiger was absolutely livid after a duel between the pair ended with Suarez pinching the Germany international on the inside of his thigh. The pair were then in a heated clash for a little while.
The Blues star admitted that the Uruguayan is a ‘world-class’ player and has proven such in Europe at spells with Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona and now Atletico.
The Chelsea man, who has looked rejuvenated since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel as manager, added that Suarez has a ‘lot of fight’ in him as he ‘defends’ the ‘badge’ of his team, just like himself.
Rudiger was last asked how much the pinch from Suarez ‘hurt’, as it jolted the tough 28-year-old, but stated he didn’t ‘really feel it that match’, despite his angry reaction during the moment.
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Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has commented on his little fight with Luis Suarez in the first-leg against Atletico Madrid, discussing the moment he was ‘pinched’… pic.twitter.com/1lPidxqtiM
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“He’s a world-class player, he’s showed it at every club he’s been in Europe – Liverpool, Barcelona, Amsterdam (Ajax) and Atletico.”
“I think he’s a very, very good player. He has a lot of fight in him, he’s a tough opponent but like I said before he just defends his badge by trying to fight for his team and I do the same.”
Rudiger was also asked about the battle later in the press conference, by Andy Dillon, with the journalist keen to find out how much the pinch from Suarez ‘hurt’ the Chelsea defender:
“To be honest, I just saw that he pinched me when I saw it over the social media and everything – I saw the pictures there.”
“In the game itself, I didn’t really feel it that much. Me and him was just like… emotions, emotions – just like that, for me honestly nothing special.”
Dillon followed up on whether the Germany international had ever ‘pinched’ an opponent:
(Rudiger laughs) “No I haven’t. Everyone plays football a little bit different, so it’s okay.”
We’re certainly in store for another fierce battle between the pair tomorrow night, with progression to the next knockout stage of Europe’s elite club competition on the line.