Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger wrote a strong, brilliant story describing his life’s experiences and dealing with racism for The Player’s Tribune.
Below is the snippet of his story as he voiced out on the fallout of Frank Lampard’s sacking and then the turnaround under Thomas Tuchel.
“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.”
What a message from the center-back? Having played only a few games under Frank Lampard, Rudiger has been a sensation under the new boss, playing almost every big game for the Blues and being one of the main reasons why we are in the Champions League final.
Hopefully, the footballing world would take a lesson from this – racial abuse is never acceptable, and judging athletes and dissing them based on a few games is not a good thing either.