“I need mind games and small talk”

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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Real Madrid star Antonio Rudiger has lifted the lid on why he likes to provoke his opponents as a centre-back.

At 29, Rudiger is currently at the top of his game, plying his trade for Real Madrid. He started his senior career at German club VfB Stuttgart and went through AS Roma and Chelsea before joining La Liga in the summer.

While the defender impressed for Stuttgart and AS Roma, he really rose to prominence following Thomas Tuchel’s arrival at Chelsea in January 2021. Under the German tactician, he established himself as one of the best in his position and helped the Blues to UEFA Champions League glory. .

Now a Real Madrid regular, Rudiger has never been known to be a quiet footballer. Over the years, he made a name for himself as an aggressive centre-back, receiving six red cards in the process.

Explaining the reasons behind his aggression, Rudiger insisted he didn’t become a footballer to please everyone. He went on to say that he enjoys making life uncomfortable for his opponents as a defender. He told the German television channel SPORT1:

“I didn’t become a professional footballer to be everyone’s friend. It’s good when someone likes me, but I can’t please everyone. I like defending and being clumsy [for others].”

Rudiger, who hasn’t been sent off since 2017, has matured as a player in recent years. However, he continues to play mind games with his opponents for fun. He added:

“It’s just me. I also like and need the mind games and the chatter with my opponents, it’s just fun for me.”

The Germany international also revealed that he likes to provoke his opponents to understand them. He said:

“I like to analyze my opponents and say to myself, ‘Okay, let’s see how they react if I provoke them a bit’. But it’s not like I pick someone before every game. It happens spontaneously.”

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) superstar Neymar recently called Rudiger a “scary centre-back”.

How has Rudiger fared for Real Madrid this season?

Rudiger has made nine appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid so far this season. He also scored his first goal for the club against RCD Mallorca in La Liga earlier this month, helping them win 4-1.

Antonio Rüdiger on the scoresheet for the first time for Real Madrid 🤗

Antonio Rüdiger on the scoresheet for the first time for Real Madrid 🤗 https://t.co/rhkNqifgT6

While the German is primarily a centre-back, he has played at the back for Los Blancos this term. Having already helped them win the UEFA Super Cup, he will be keen to win more trophies this season.

Edited by Dakir Mohammad Thanveer

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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