Madrid strengthens the defense by signing Rudiger with Chelsea

MADRID (AP) – Real Madrid signed a free transfer on Thursday from Antonio Rudiger, calling him “one of the best defenders in the world” and strengthening his team after becoming European champions for the 14th time.

Madrid brought Rudiger from Chelsea under a four-year contract. The German national team will be officially presented on Monday.

Madrid praised Rudiger’s “very team physical presence” and his experience playing in England, Germany and Italy.

The 29-year-old central defender has helped Chelsea win titles in the Champions League, Europa League, Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FA Cup.

Last season he scored five goals in 54 games for Chelsea, both a record for him for the club.

Rudiger made his Bundesliga debut in Stuttgart at the age of 18 before moving to Roma in 2015 and eventually to Chelsea in 2017.

Real Madrid played in the Champions League final against Liverpool with central defenders Eder Militao and David Alaba, who was signed with Bayern Munich a year ago.

In Madrid there was no veteran Sergio Ramos after he moved to Paris Saint-Germain, and Nacha Fernandez played in central defense when needed.

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