Berlin (Germany), Nov 16 () Antonio Rudiger might not be the biggest name in Germany’s squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but the 29-year-old Real Madrid defender is nothing less than a star.
While 2014 World Cup winners Germany are well equipped in midfield and upfront, Rudiger has to deal with a tricky challenge, to turn a newly-formed backline into a robust stronghold.
For some reason, the job appears a perfect match for him.
His early years in the so-called football cages in one of Berlin’s roughest areas might have taught him the lesson of his life.
The district of Neukolln came near a melting pot of cultures in a tough environment. In his case, things turned into a helpful school of life in many aspects.
It took him some years to attract attention on the big stage covered by TV cameras.
After his apprenticeship-like years in Stuttgart, the tall defender took the hard way with two years at AS Roma and five at Chelsea, including disappointments and setbacks, reports Xinhua.
Developing a strong will on Berlin’s streets, the German turned into one of Europe’s best defenders, joining Real Madrid last summer.
Having gained invaluable experience competing against the continent’s best strikers of all types clearly convinced Germany coach Hansi Flick to take him to Qatar.
His rapid development, along with game-opening skills, made Flick forget about aging 2014 World Cup-winning defender Mats Hummels.
“If something doesn’t destroy you it makes you stronger,” Rudiger stated on social media after scoring Real’s equaliser in a Champions League group match, despite a heavily bleeding head wound treated with several stitches.
It seems certain he will be a regular in the starting eleven; the issue to solve is who will partner with him.
Flick’s decision to leave Hummels at home is not only pushing Rudiger into the limelight but also tells a story of deep trust.