‘We must not underestimate the opponent’… Real Madrid defender warns ahead of UCL final

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As the last week has clearly demonstrated to Real Madrid fans, time and tide wait for no one. It seems like only yesterday that Toni Kroos joined the club, and now he will be playing his final match for the Merengues this coming Sunday, marking the end of his remarkable 10-year tenure at the world’s biggest football club.

And it is not only Kroos, as several other beloved stars have left the Whites in the last few years, the most notable being Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, and Karim Benzema.

However, unlike other clubs, Real Madrid have been able to replace these departing stars, and have not really needed a period of radical transition that would have left them unable to compete for the top trophies for some years. Some other stars have joined the team in recent years and have quickly replaced these legends in the hearts of Los Blancos fans.

One such player who has been rather quick to make his place both in the team and the fans’ hearts is the defender Antonio Rudiger. Having joined the Merengues in 2022, the defender has already completed his first 100 games for Real Madrid and has also won his first La Liga title.

Having already won a Champions League title with Chelsea, the German can repeat this feat this Sunday, as he will be facing Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final.

As Mundo Deportivo has reported, he talked to the media after the game against Real Betis, and shared how the feeling of playing this upcoming final with Real Madrid is different from how he felt with Chelsea:

“For me, I don’t see any difference. The week leading up to the final was very special when I played it with Chelsea, and it is the same now. There is more pressure due to the history of this club. All the players here know what a final means to this club.”

The defender recommended his teammates to enjoy this final week ahead of the big game: “We have to enjoy these kinds of weeks with a Champions League final because it doesn’t happen very often, even though the club’s history suggests otherwise.”

In this upcoming match, Rudiger is expected to cope with his compatriot and the Borussia Dortmund striker, Niclas Fullkrug. The defender ensured the reporter that he is well acquainted with the forward’s game, while also praising his upcoming rival:

“I know Füllkrug well; he is a physically strong forward, a great striker with excellent finishing. I prepare the same way as in previous matches.”

While avoiding naming his side as the favorite for this match, the German still showed confidence in the abilities of his team’s attacking line:

The favorites’ label is something you [the media] say. It’s a final, and you should never underestimate the opponent. I hope we are very disciplined and good with the ball. Then, we can score goals with players like Vinícius, Rodrygo, or Bellingham.”

As has been the case throughout this season, Rudiger will undoubtedly be one of the most important players for Real Madrid on the field in this match. Hopefully, he will be at his best in this match to keep the likes of Fullkrug quiet, and get his side a victory in this all-important match.

Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari, a dedicated sports journalist and Real Madrid fan, has written over 2000 articles for Barca News Network and Madrid Voice. With a degree in Political Science and English Literature from Forman Christian College, he provides expert analyses and comprehensive La Liga coverage.

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