Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed Antonio Rudiger will leave the club at the end of the current campaign.
The German’s contract at the London club expires at the end of the season, and discussions to sign a new contract have hit a snag.
The uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the club is said to be one of the reasons the defender has decided to leave.
Speaking to Sky Sports after Chelsea’s 1-0 win over West Ham, Blues boss Tuchel confirmed: “The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this 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.
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“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.”
Real Madrid are leading the race to sign the defender, even though he has attracted interest from a number of other European giants including Manchester United, and Paris Saint-Germain.
Rudiger arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2017 from AS Roma on a five-year contract and has won five titles during that period including the Champions League.