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16 May 2022

Toni Rudiger frustrated after missing out on final Chelsea trophy

Toni Rudiger frustrated after missing out on final Chelsea trophy

Toni Rudiger is gutted to be leaving Chelsea without one last winner’s medal after Liverpool made Thomas Tuchel’s side pay on penalties in another cup final.

Having lost February’s Carabao Cup showpiece to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds on spot-kicks following an engaging, scoreless battle, history repeated itself as the sides met back at Wembley vying for FA Cup glory.

Neither side could find the breakthrough across 120 minutes, with Alisson Becker denying Mason Mount before Kostas Tsimikas fired home to seal Liverpool a 6-5 sudden-death shoot-out triumph.

It was Chelsea’s third FA Cup final loss in as many years and compounded February’s Carabao Cup frustrations for Rudiger.

“I think it was a good game like the Carabao Cup final,” the centre-back said.

“We had chances, they had chances. But at the end of the day we know that penalties are always a lottery. We lost. At the end of the day it’s about winning.

“It’s about today, it’s not about next season. The game was about today and it was there to take and, yeah, unfortunately we didn’t.”

Asked what the difference is between being lucky and unlucky, Rudiger said: “It’s always difficult to say whether we are lucky or unlucky.

“Personally for myself it’s the third time (I have lost a final) so you can’t always say unlucky, unlucky, unlucky.”

Rudiger was part of Chelsea’s triumphant FA Cup side in 2018, then went on to taste glory in the Europa League and Champions League.

There were also wins in this season’s UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, yet this was not the ending he dreamed of as he prepares to join Real Madrid in the summer.

“It’s been five years as normal with ups and downs, but with a lot of positive things,” the Germany international said.

“That’s why I’m even more frustrated because I wanted to have a different ending.

“At the end of the day it’s not only about one side, it’s both sides – Chelsea have been great to me, I have been great to Chelsea.

“As always, I am very, very thankful, me, my family. I became a man here. My kids were born here and everything. London and especially Chelsea will always be special to me.”

Rudiger has been a key cog in Tuchel’s backline and will now leave on a free transfer at the end of the campaign.

The uncertainty brought by Roman Abramovich’s exit has made things complicated for Chelsea in recent months, but the 29-year-old says that did not impact his exit.

“I don’t want to go too deep in things,” he added. “There was a chance (of staying) but sanctions is not the problem.”

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