“For me, my family, my wife – it’s really special,” Antonio Rudiger told Chelsea TV after he was given a standing ovation by the Blues’ fans in his last game for the club.
“I can understand all the disappointment and everything. To come out and give me this kind of reception, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
“It’s tough for me because even yesterday, the last time at Cobham – it’s tough,” he added. “To play this game today, receive this reception, I cannot say more than thank you. Thank you very much for the support. I will never forget this club.
“This club will always be special. Here we are like a family. On the training ground, in a year we are always together. For me it is very tough. It is not easy to describe. It’s been an incredible journey, man.
“For me it is important to always give everything for the badge, for the supporters. I’d say I always tried my best. I will still give you stick for calling me a legend!”
Antonio Rudiger leaves Chelsea after a five-year spell during which he won five trophies, including the Champions League a year ago.
The center-back looks set to join Real Madrid as a free agent.