Rudiger: ‘I had to bleed’, Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger reveals racism hell and wants to ‘use his voice’ to help clean up football

Antonio Rudiger says he has been 'marked' by racial abuse forever.

Chelsea’s German defender fought his way up from poverty to tomorrow’s Champions League final in Portugal.

 

Chelsea’s German defender fought his way up from poverty to tomorrow’s Champions League final in Portugal.

But he endured vile abuse growing up in Germany, playing in Italy and now England.

Ahead of facing Manchester City, Rudiger said: “Do you know how many times I have been called a n****r? Do you know how many times I have been told to go back to Africa?

“Eight years old, I had to ask Dad: ‘What is this word, n****r?’

“When you grow up being called that, you can choose to ignore it or you can fight.

“Many times, I had to fight — I had to bleed.

“The whole world will watch the Champions League final and I want to use my voice.

“This is not a ten-minute conversation, or an Instagram caption, this is my life.”

Rudiger, 28, suffered sick online racial abuse in January in the wake of ex-Blues boss Frank Lampard’s sacking.

He also endured racism growing up in Neukolln, Germany, and from Lazio’s Ultras while playing for Roma in Italy.

Rudiger said: “They called me a n****r. They were shouting: ‘ you, go eat a banana’.

“When I touched the ball, they’d make monkey noises. But I did not react. I did not want to give them that power.

“But I don’t care how strong you are, if you are a human with a beating heart, you are marked by it forever.

“Whenever this happens, how does the football world react? People say: ‘Ah, it’s terrible.’

“There is an investigation, but nothing happens. We have a big social media campaign and then we go back to normal.

“Why did fans and players unite to stop the Super League in 48 hours but, when there is racist abuse at a stadium or online, it is always ‘complicated’?

“Maybe because it is not just a few idiots — maybe because it goes a lot deeper.”

Yet Rudiger has revealed he received apologies from online abusers after Chelsea’s final run.

In an emotive Players’ Tribune interview, he added: “It was crazy. But I am not naive.

“I don’t expect everything to change overnight. But I am going to continue to fight.”

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