Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has revealed how hurt he felt after he was made a scapegoat for Chelsea’s struggles under former boss Frank Lampard.
Rudiger wrote in The Players’ Tribune: “You might be asking why I am speaking about this now. Well, look at everything I have experienced at Chelsea this season. Just four months ago, I was finished.
“At that time, if you read about me in the English press, you would have a very different picture of me as a person compared to who I really am. I can’t even say that I felt misunderstood. Because I felt like people didn’t know anything about me at all.
“I was just a name. ‘Rüdiger.’ I was whatever the press said I was. Things were going bad, and I wasn’t playing a lot, so I was a very easy scapegoat. You have read all about it, I’m sure.
“I was the reason the manager got fired. I was bringing bad vibes. You know exactly what I’m talking about. And the racist abuse that I got on social media during that time was crazy.
“And I want to be very clear. I don’t think that the English press was criticizing me because of where I come from, or the colour of my skin. But I want people to understand what happens when things like this are written about you.
“If you go into your mentions, you will see a very dark side to humanity. You will understand that we still have a long, long, long way to go, as a society.
“And look how fast the story can change. Four months ago, social media said I was worthless. Kai [Havertz] was not good enough. Timo [Werner] was not good enough. Never mind that Kai and Timo had moved to a new country in the middle of a pandemic. Never mind that we are human beings, not robots.
“It didn’t matter. We were all worthless. Now here we are four months later, in a Champions League final.”