New Real Madrid signing Antonio Rudiger has revealed the two Galacticos he idolised growing up. The Germany international has named Brazil legend Ronaldo and French football icon Zinedine Zidane as his Real Madrid idols.
Following five incredibly successful seasons at Chelsea, where he became one of the leading centre-backs in European football, Rudiger will move to the Spanish capital on a free transfer, signing a four-year contract.
The 29-year-old was part of Thomas Tuchel's side that won the Blues' second UEFA Champions League title last year. He's now set to become a key member of reigning European champions Madrid's back four next season.
After passing a medical, Rudiger has revealed how much he admired Real Madrid growing up, naming Ronaldo Nazario and Zinedine Zidane in particular. The German international told a press conference (as per Mundo Deportivo):
"I remember Ronaldo Nazario; he was my idol. We all wanted to be like him. Zidane too, the goal he scored against Leverkusen."
The goal against Leverkusen Rudiger referred to was Zidane's iconic left-footed volley from outside the penalty box in the 2002 Champions League final, which Los Blancos won 2-1 at Hampden Park.
Zidane played alongside Ronaldo for four seasons after the Brazilian superstar forward moved to the Bernabeu from Inter Milan following the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Both players are considered two of the greatest in the modern era and have three Ballon d'Or wins between them.
Antonio Rudiger credits Carlo Ancelotti for convinving him to join Real Madrid
Rudiger, a former AS Roma centre-back, will face stiff competition to start for Madrid. That's because the likes of Eder Militao and David Alaba at Madrid are among the very best in his position.
However, when asked why he chose Real Madrid, the defender said that their manager Carlo Ancelotti had spoken with him, which eventually sealed his decision. Rudiger said:
"The first time there was contact between Madrid and my agent was in September; the second time I spoke with Ancelotti was in April. That was the most important thing. It was there that I made the decision to play for Madrid with Ancelotti."
The German added:
"The conversation with Ancelotti. He told me that he trusted me, that he expected a lot, that I could help them. ... and that's a lot. We're talking about Ancelotti. We already know that there is competition at Madrid, but I'm ready to fight for my place."
Rudiger had a solid 2021-22 season, bagging five goals and four assists in 54 games across competitions, with the Blues winning two competitions and reaching the final of another two.