Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has admitted that his spell in Italy was the “best step” of his career amid rumours that he could leave Stamford Bridge this summer.
The centre-back has just one year remaining on his deal with the London club having signed from AS Roma in 2017.
No suitors have yet been indicated but from Rudiger’s perspective, he appears to be very much in favour of Serie A having spent a solitary season in Italy when he arrived in Rome from German outfit Stuttgart.
In an interview published on Chelsea’s website, the 28-year-old said: “I looked for a new challenge [after leaving Stuttgart] that can not only progress me as a footballer but also as a human.
“So I chose Italy because I can learn a lot of defensive work and everything and because you’re 23, you’re not complete.
“You have to learn more even as a man. That was if I can say the best step in my career.”
Meanwhile, the 40-time German international also indicated more differences between the countries. Having played in Germany, Italy and England, he suggested that whilst the support is just as passionate in the Premier League, it is far less scathing and intrusive.
He continued: “England is like you can be more for yourself. If you go out, people will not bother you.
“In Italy, it was crazy because as I said passionate, they love their club so they love their players.
“But it is the same that that love can also turn to hate if you lose.
“But here in England what impressed me the most when we lost against [Manchester] City 6-0 away. In Italy, people would go crazy.
The summer window is officially open and now the Blues can look to build on European glory and bolster the squad to push for Premier League supremacy.
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“But here, they were still standing there supporting.”
In his four years with Chelsea so far, Rudiger has gone on to make 149 appearances for the Blues.
He has played a key role in numerous successes having lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy this season, as well as the UEFA Europa League and the FA Cup previously.