Thomas Tuchel confirms Antonio Rudiger exit as Chelsea "couldn’t fight anymore"

Thomas Tuchel has admitted that he is powerless to stop Antonio Rudiger leaving Chelsea at the end of the season.

The Germany international is out of contract in the summer amid interest from several clubs across the continent. Real Madrid are leading the race while Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Newcastle have been eyeing a move too.

But losing the former AS Roma star will be a huge blow to the Blues, where he has become a key player both on and off the pitch. His performances have helped Chelsea retain a comfortable position in the Premier League.

While at the back, only Liverpool and Manchester City have conceded less that Tuchel's side, denoting the fine defensive prowess on show at Stamford Bridge. Rudiger was also a huge part of the side that won the Champions League last season.

So to lose the defender for nothing will have a massive effect on the side, where he is also recognised as a leader in the dressing room. However, Tuchel has revealed that there was nothing more than could be done and that the decision is out of the club's hands.

When asked about the recent reports on Rudiger's future, the German coach said: "Toni, the media is on it. The situation is that he wants to leave the club.

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"He informed me of this is in a private talk. We gave everything – me and the club – but we could not fight anymore because of the actions. Without the sanctions we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but our hands are tied. We don't take it personally. It is his decision.

"He is a key figure and will stay that way until the end of the season. But it is disappointing. We will miss him a lot.

"He gives courage in the dressing room. The kind everyone is afraid of, but the kind to play 50-55 games at an outstanding level. He is a top defender in the last one and a half years for me. We then need to find another solution."

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