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Toni Rudiger: Staying at Chelsea is ‘priority number one’

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
(Image credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Toni Rudiger has branded staying at Chelsea his “priority number one”, while also revealing Paris St Germain and Tottenham had tried to sign him last summer.

The Germany defender fell out of favour under Frank Lampard and was close to a loan exit earlier this season, only to fight his way back into a pivotal Stamford Bridge role.

The 28-year-old has thrived under new Blues boss Thomas Tuchel and revealed his desire to extend his contract, with his current deal running until 2022.

“Even at the beginning of the season when things didn’t go my way, I was always calm, like I am now,” said Rudiger.

“At the end of the day I cannot give myself a contract. So that’s why I have to wait to see what happens.

“Whatever happens I love being at Chelsea, so Chelsea will always be my priority number one.

“Everyone, me and the club know how much I like this club, so it’s down to the people who make these types of decisions.

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“At the moment for me it’s to concentrate on important matches and targets. The rest, I think I’m sure we will resolve it.”

Where Rudiger had struggled under Lampard, the experienced Germany star has hit top form under new boss Tuchel.

Andreas Christensen has also come back into form too, with ex-PSG boss Tuchel whipping the Blues’ defence into fine shape.

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Christensen’s contract also expires in 2022, while veteran Brazil defender Thiago Silva has been tipped to extend his Chelsea stay beyond this summer.

Chelsea will host Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night in a bid to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, with Rudiger poised for a central role.

Confirming strong prior interest from PSG and Tottenham, Rudiger explained his shock at slipping down the Stamford Bridge pecking order at the start of the season.

“Some things I saw coming, obviously, but then I was not in the squad, and this I didn’t see coming; but at the end of the day I took it on the chin,” said Rudiger.

“I was close (to leaving). There were really two teams; maybe one team I was considering, that was PSG, to be honest.

“And there was also with (Tottenham boss Jose) Mourinho. But this is something at the end of the day that didn’t happen.

Chelsea's Toni Rudiger (right) in action

Chelsea’s Toni Rudiger (right) is poised for a central role against Atletico Madrid (Lee Smith/PA)

“I was a bit upset, because I knew my situation. But then I had the talk with the ex-coach, with Lampard, and all of a sudden I was back in the team, on the bench.

“Then I also had a couple of games and I just worked my way back.

“The last games of his reign I was on the pitch.

“And obviously now things are going well for me, I’m very happy about it.

“But to be honest I always felt well in the club. They treated me nice. No one at the club, neither on the board nor Frank Lampard, told me I should leave.

“The transfer didn’t happen, the loans didn’t happen. But also no one in the club told me I should leave.”