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Antonio Rudiger has said the sanctions imposed on Chelsea by the British government were not the reason for his decision to leave the club.

German defender Rudiger was a crucial player for Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea but hasn’t agreed to a new contract.

The former Roma central defender will therefore leave at the end of the season on a free transfer, with Real Madrid being his likely destination.

Rudiger has helped Chelsea to four FA Cup finals, winning one and winning the Champions League since arriving in 2017. The UEFA Super Cup, Europa League and Club World Cup of FIFA are also included in his honours.

When confirming that Rudiger had asked to leave Chelsea in April, Tuchel suggested that the sanctions imposed on club owner Roman Abramovic following the Russian invasion of Ukraine meant the Blues were unable to to meet the 29-year-old’s financial demands.

Rudiger, however, insisted the penalties had no impact on his decision.

“I don’t want to take it too far,” he told reporters at Wembley on Saturday, after Chelsea lost 6-5 on penalties to Liverpool in the FA Cup final, their third successive loss. in the centerpiece of the competition.

“There was a chance, but the sanctions weren’t the problem.

“It’s been five years with ups and downs as usual. There have been a lot of positive things, but that’s why I’m even more frustrated because I wanted to have a different ending.

“It’s about both sides. Chelsea have been great with me and I’ve been great for Chelsea. I’m very, very grateful, me and my family.

“I became a man here. My children were born here and everything. London, and especially Chelsea, will always be special to me.”

Chelsea became the first team since Newcastle United (1974, 1998 and 1999) to lose in three consecutive FA Cup final appearances, while the Blues are the first team since Middlesbrough in 1996-97 to lose both finals of the England domestic cup in the same campaign, following their penalty shootout loss to Liverpool in the EFL Cup final in February.

“I think it was a good game, just like the EFL Cup final. We had chances, they had chances,” Rudiger said.

“But at the end of the day, we know penalties are always a lottery and we lost.

“It’s about winning, not about next season. The game was about today and he was there to take. Unfortunately, we didn’t win.

“It’s always hard to tell if you’re lucky or unlucky. For me it’s the third time [I have lost an FA Cup final] so you can’t always say unlucky, unlucky, unlucky.”

Rudiger still has two games to play before leaving Chelsea, with the Blues hosting Leicester City on Thursday before closing out their season against Watford.