Antonio Rudiger said it was "Real Madrid or nothing" when he decided to leave Chelsea on a free transfer this summer. The German centre-back was unveiled at Real's training ground on Monday by club president Florentino Perez.

The Blues tried their best to keep Rudiger at Stamford Bridge, but it was tough to tempt him once Real made their interest known. The 29-year-old even confirmed Barcelona's approach before he chose to sign with the 14-time Champions League winners.

The Germany international was instrumental in Chelsea's Champions League triumph in 2021 and leaves after five successful seasons with the English Premier League club. Rudiger confirmed that the first approach from Real arrived last summer, but his decision to move to the Spanish capital was made only this April after a conversation with Carlo Ancelotti.

"Yes, there was interest from Barcelona," Rudiger said in a news conference on Monday. "But I told my brother it was Real or nothing."

"The first time there was contact it wasn't really myself, it was my agent," he added. "That was in September last year. The second time, when I spoke directly with Mister [Carlo] Ancelotti, was in April. That was the most important moment. That was when I made my choice."

Rudiger was in awe of his new employers' phenomenal run in the Champions League last season. The Spanish capital club overcame Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City on the way to the final before beating Liverpool 1-0 in the summit clash.

The German centre-back welcomed the pressure that comes with donning the famous white jersey, and counts himself "lucky" to be able to call the Santiago Bernabeu his home for at least the next four years.

"What Madrid did last year in the Champions League, I don't know how to describe it," Rudiger said. "It was incredible... When you come to a big, massive club it's important, but I try to enjoy the pressure. I see myself as lucky to be here."

Rudiger became Real's second signing of the summer after the European champions landed highly-rated defensive midfielder Aurélien Tchouameni from Monaco earlier this month. The France international arrived for a fee of £72 million on a six-year contract.

Antonio Rudiger
Chelsea's German defender Antonio Rudiger, pictured in early December, says he hopes the offenders will be identified and punished Glyn KIRK/AFP