Antonio Rudiger’s latest crime against normality proves he cannot be from Planet Earth

“My Real Madrid teammates have realized that I’m completely crazy,” said Antonio Rudiger three months after swapping Chelsea for Spain in 2022. They didn’t know the half of it.

Rudiger has established a reputation as one of Europe’s best defenders in recent seasons, with Teflon-like marking and excellent distribution of the ball married to the innate ability to be in the right place at the right time.

But everybody needs their own USP. And Rudiger’s biggest quality has been to turn his inherent weirdness into a weapon to be used against opposition forwards.

We’re big fans of Rudiger at Planet Football. From his Monty Python tribute during an actual World Cup match to sticking his head under Erling Haaland’s armpit and grabbing the cheeks of Sergio Ramos, the defender will stop at nothing to unnerve his temporary enemies.

And the Germany international was at it once more during Madrid’s trip to Real Betis on a bright, warm day in Seville.

As one Betis defender launched a clearance in the direction of Morocco, Rudiger found himself marking opposition dangerman Isco. Having revitalised his career since leaving the Bernabeu, Isco would clearly take some stopping.

Instead of whispering sweet nothings in his ear, promising to take Isco out for some espinacas con garbanzos and Flamenco, Rudiger decided that a more physical approach was necessary to win possession.

But that didn’t mean he was about to use one of his telescopic legs to regain possession or nip ahead of his opponent to win the ball. Oh no.

As the ball began to drop into the Madrid half, Rudiger simply picked put his hands under Isco’s arms and lifted him off the floor like a young child tentatively removing a rock to check on the ant colony underneath.

Unsurprisingly, Isco cried foul. His general helplessness was exacerbated by the sight of his arms and legs falling in the air like a toddler sitting at a high chair.

The referee’s whistle pierced the air. Rudiger trotted back in line with his defensive colleagues, non-plussed at having committed another crime against normality.

Rudiger picks up Isco 44′
byu/Delmer9713 insoccer

After leaving the Premier League in the summer of 2022, Rudiger is thriving under Carlo Ancelotti in the Spanish capital.

“I could not imagine anything because if I’m being honest the biggest dream for my career was to play in the Premier League, I just thought that Real Madrid wouldn’t happen for me, it wasn’t in my plans,” he said shortly after joining Madrid.

“I was very happy in Chelsea and then you realize Real Madrid want to sign you and you just think “wow!”. Then, you come here and everything is big and spectacular.

“In Madrid you have pressure even when you take the car to go to Valdebebas. But I say that as a positive, because I like to have that kind of pressure in my life, I wouldn’t want to live without it.

“Madrid is not for any player and I try to be there. I want to spend a great time here.”

The centre-back also revealed that he embraces the expectations that come with being a Madrid regular.

“You have to be clear about your role in the team. And I know my role. And I have nothing to complain about in that regard. How am I going to complain if the club has been successful like this year after year! I go out to the field and do my job,” Rudiger said.

Madrid held out for a 1-1 draw against Betis, with Jude Bellingham grabbing the headlines following another clever goal. There’s talk that he’ll end up as La Liga’s top scorer, a remarkable achievement for the young English midfielder.

But the real headline was Rudiger’s latest indicator that he is not from our planet. We cannot wait to see what he does next.

By Michael Lee

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