Jerome Boateng has described Antonio Rudiger as one of the “top five” defenders in European football at the moment amid continued speculation over his future at Chelsea.
The Blues defender sees his contract at Stamford Bridge expire at the end of the season and has been strongly linked with a departure from west London.
Rudiger has been linked with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Tottenham in recent weeks, with the Germany international continuing to impress under Thomas Tuchel.
Chelsea boss Tuchel, when speaking about Rudiger recently, insisted the centre-back was still committed to the Blues despite the ongoing speculation over his future.
“It does not affect this mentality, it does not affect his quality and it does absolutely not affect his behaviour. He is fully committed to Chelsea right now,” the Chelsea head coach said last month.
“I am absolutely sure he feels the trust and respect and the love from the club and from the spectators. He is a big competitor and he is in exactly the right spot.
“He is in the most competitive league, he is at a club where he really matters and that suits him perfectly, so let’s be patient and hopefully we have a good ending.”
Now, his German compatriot Boateng, who is now playing his football with French outfit Lyon after leaving Bayern Munich over the summer, has heaped praise on Rudiger in what should come as a warning to Chelsea to not allow the defender to leave the club at the end of the season.
Speaking in an interview with Goal, Boateng said: “Toni Rudiger. We are good friends and we talk often. I’m very happy for him that he has developed so well at Chelsea.
“When we remember where he was a year ago, sometimes on the bench, sometimes in the stands. And now he’s a guaranteed starter and playing at a world-class level because he believed in himself and remained patient.
“For me, he is currently the best German defender, and definitely in the top five at his spot in Europe.
“I don’t have any [advice] for him, he’s big enough and will know what’s best for him. I wish him clear ideas when he makes his decision, but that will be the case.”
As mentioned above, Liverpool have been linked with a move for Rudiger, but according to our friends over at the Liverpool Echo, the Reds do not currently hold an interest in the Chelsea defender as they are ‘well stocked’ in that position.
It remains to be seen what happens with Rudiger, but with each passing day – and no sign of negotiations progressing – it looks increasingly likely that the German defender will say farewell to Chelsea when the season concludes in May
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