Antonio Rudiger is relishing the chance to face his old club after Real Madrid were drawn against Chelsea in the Champions League.
Following Friday’s quarter-final draw, Los Blancos will face the Blues with the winner of the tie set to take on either Manchester City or Bayern Munich for a place in June’s final in Istanbul.
It is the third season in a row that the two sides will meet in the competition, with Real triumphing in last year’s quarter-final 5-4 on aggregate on their way to winning their 14th Champions League title.
But in 2021, it was Chelsea who had the upper-hand as they beat the Spanish giants 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals before going on to beat City 1-0 in the final.
Much has changed since their latest encounter, not least the change of allegiance for Rudiger who left Stamford Bridge for the Santiago Bernabeu last summer on a free transfer.
The centre-back had been a key player for Chelsea during his five-year spell there and his presence was certainly missed during the beginning of this campaign, though Graham Potter’s new-look defence have started to gel in recent weeks.
He is now a key part of Real’s backline having made 37 appearances under Carlo Ancelotti so far and now appears excited at the prospect of playing against his former club.
‘This will be very special – Can’t wait to see so many friends again,’ the 30-year-old posted on Twitter on Friday.
Rudiger is not the only ex-Chelsea player in Real’s squad with Belgium duo Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard also there, while Blues midfielder Mateo Kovacic will go up against his former side once again.
‘The feeling is excitement,’ Potter said in his pre-match press conference when asked about how he reacted to the draw.
‘I’ve said we will try to win the Champions League and that’s the same for the other seven clubs in the draw I’m sure.
‘We will focus on Real Madrid when we get there but at the moment our thoughts are on tomorrow and Everton. I’d rather focus on Everton because the other stuff is a long way away.’
In the meantime, Rudiger and Real travel to arch-rivals Barcelona on Sunday for the latest edition of El Clasico.
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