Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand believes that Chelsea have the Premier League’s best defender in Antonio Rudiger.
Having been out of favour under former manager Frank Lampard, Rudiger has made remarkable strides under current boss Thomas Tuchel and is now one of the first names on the Blues team sheet.
The switch to a three-man defence has been a huge help for the Germany international, who has been able to utilise his pace, aggression and technical ability on the ball to get the better of Premier League forwards.
That status was further cemented on Sunday, as the centre-back scored the final goal in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over rivals Tottenham Hotspur, capping off another outstanding defensive performance from Tuchel ‘s team.
Ferdinand is regarded as one of the finest defenders in Premier League history and speaking on his Vibe With Five (h/t Metro ) podcast, he said there’s no better centre-back in the English game than the Chelsea man at the moment.
“Since Tuchel has come I think he’s arguably been the best centre-back,” said Ferdinand. “I think him and [Ruben] Dias would have been close but the effect he has had on his team has been immense.”
“Under Frank [Lampard] , it was evident he wasn’t Frank’s cup of tea. He didn’t really like him. There was rumours there were trying to put him in the market to be sold.
“In Germany, he’s always been highly thought of. But when the manager doesn’t rate you and you can feel that, I don’t care who you are your confidence takes a beating and it’s hard to perform at that level.”
Dias had a major impact at Manchester City last season, helping the team win the title and picking up a number of individual prizes, including the PFA and FWA Men’s Player of the Year accolades.
Chelsea fans will argue that their man is approaching a similar level though. Rudiger has been part of a Blues team that has only conceded one goal in their first five Premier League games, a Mohamed Salah penalty in the 1-1 draw at Liverpool.
Rudiger’s contract situation will be a concern for the club though, as he only has one year remaining on his deal. The 28-year-old is said to be in discussions over an extension.