Antonio Rudiger on dream Chelsea move and getting away from racist abuse in Italy
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 31/07/17 8:47am
Antonio Rudiger is glad to have secured a dream move to the Premier League with Chelsea after frank admissions about his life in Italy.
The German centre-back is preparing for his first season in England and admits he often felt 'alone' during his two seasons with Roma, where he claims to have suffered racist abuse from supporters and even opposition players.
And the 24-year-old called on football's governing body FIFA to do more about abuse that continues to plague the game in some countries.
"I just want justice." said Rudiger, who cost Chelsea £34m. "I want FIFA or the FA in Italy just to suspend those people who do that.
"It is not all the people in Italy who are like that. If we always talk about racism in Italy, people think that all Italians are racist people and it is not like that.
"I just mean those specific people who do it. Those people need to be banned from the stadium or fined.
"You feel alone. People love to say 'stay calm' or 'don't do anything'. It is easy for you to say those things when you are not black and you never feel what it is like.
"You cannot even put yourself in my position of how that feels. In that moment, it is like this. You are alone. You have to be strong. But each human is different. Someone takes it and doesn't react. Others react. I can understand both."
Rudiger came on for his Chelsea debut in the 2-1 defeat by Inter Milan on Saturday and he is looking forward to testing himself against some of the world's leading strikers.
He added: "You need to prepare for a physical game. There are a lot of strikers - Jamie Vardy, Lukaku, a lot of strikers - where you look at them and it is a challenge. The whole league is a challenge.
"It is a dream to be here. I always wanted to play in the Premier League and it is now years since my name was first linked to Chelsea.
"Now I am here and I am very happy and want to thank all the people that made this come true. At the time (in 2016) it wasn't the right moment and now I am here. The whole squad has helped me feel welcome, they are very nice and very kind and very respectful. I like that."