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Antonio Rüdiger: The indomitable force at Real Madrid and for Germany

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Comparing Antonio Rüdiger to Duracell’s enduring bunny might be fitting—he keeps going and going. The numbers reveal his incredible capacity to handle the immense workload for both Real Madrid and the German national team.

A recent study by the International Center for Sports Studies (CIES) highlights Rüdiger among the top players in Europe for minutes played in 2023, placing him third with 5,223 minutes across 63 matches for both club and country this calendar year.

Despite this demanding workload, Rüdiger remarkably hasn’t suffered any injuries during his 17-month tenure at Real Madrid. His exceptional resilience has impressed the club, exceeding even their initial high expectations of him.

Carlo Ancelotti made it clear that Rüdiger wouldn’t rotate during the defensive crisis, and even with the return of other defenders like Alaba and Nacho, the German powerhouse remains a consistent fixture.

Ancelotti hints at potential rest but emphasizes Rüdiger’s unwavering commitment, citing Rüdiger’s own declaration: “Where I come from, only the strongest survive,” as shared with AS last season.

Rüdiger’s physical prowess has been evident in his tenure at Real Madrid. His standout performance, particularly as an ‘anti-Haaland’ in the previous Champions League semifinals, showcased his rapid sprints to regain defensive positions.

Madrid knew they were getting a speedster; Rüdiger previously clocked the highest top speed in a Premier League match at 36.7 km/h during his time at Chelsea.

In a comparative view of players’ minutes played in 2023, Rüdiger’s relentless presence places him in elite company. He’s even surpassed the playing time of his Madrid teammate Fede Valverde, a regular for both Real Madrid and Uruguay.

His role in the German national team further amplifies his significance. Whether under Hansi Flick (before his September dismissal) or Julian Nagelsmann, Rüdiger’s consistency for Germany remains unparalleled.

With just one exception during the March FIFA dates, he’s played the full 90 minutes in nine consecutive national team matches, cementing his status as a defensive linchpin for the four-time world champions.

As he navigates through the conclusion of this season with Real Madrid, assuming the mantle of the defensive leader, Rüdiger’s dedication and endurance continue to shine.

Despite a solitary break in this campaign and discounting the initial Liga match where he entered early due to a teammate’s injury, Rüdiger displayed unwavering commitment from August 19th to November 11th, playing 19 matches consecutively in their entirety—an exceptional feat in a Real Madrid season fraught with injury concerns.

Rüdiger’s resilience adds a unique dimension to the team’s efforts, especially during a challenging phase marked by injuries.

Source: Diario AS

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