Chelsea travel to Real on Wednesday for the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie, with this the third year in a row the two clubs have met in the competition.
The Blues emerged victorious in the semi-finals in 2021, going on to beat Manchester City in the final under Thomas Tuchel, before Los Blancos triumphed in the quarters last year on the way to winning their 14th European title.
On both occasions, Rudiger lined up for the English side but now he is playing for the Spanish giants having moved from Stamford Bridge to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer on a free.
And while he has not been gone long, much has changed at Chelsea since the centre-back left with new ownership, new backroom staff, many new, expensive players and most recently a new-ish manager in the form of Frank Lampard.
The club legend and former head coach returned to west-London last week as interim-manager until the end of the season following the sacking of Graham Potter less than seven months after he replaced the sacked Tuchel.
Rudiger is wary of the changes and though he acknowledged that his former team are now almost unrecognisable to him, he remains very cautious about their chances of winning the tie.
‘It has changed a lot and I don’t really know what to expect… It looks nothing like the team I played for,’ the 30-year-old told Marca.
‘I expect quality, because they are very good players, but I don’t know what else we can find. It won’t be an easy game, but we are Real Madrid.
‘I don’t care [that I’m playing Chelsea] and less at this stage of the competition. It would have been a great story to have played the final against them, of course, but on the field for me there are no emotions and I only think about winning.
‘We are in the quarterfinals and anything can happen. The best thing is that being in Madrid we know how to play this type of game.’
Rudiger has been a near-ever present for Real since joining but this season they have Real have struggled in La Liga, with the club 12 points behind arch-rivals Barcelona, but they they have reached the Copa del Rey final and performed brilliantly to beat Liverpool 6-2 on aggregate in the UCL round of 16.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s form domestically this season has been dreadful with the club 11th in the table, while Lampard wasn’t able to have the instant impact he would have hoped for with the Blues losing 1-0 at Wolves last Saturday, managing just one shot on target.
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