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The end of an era clung to Chelsea as the players made their exit from Wembley Stadium and it stretched beyond Roman Abramovich and the change of ownership.
‘Chelsea will always be a special place for me,’ said Rudiger, 29. ‘Five years, ups and downs but a lot of positive things. That’s why I’m even more frustrated, I wanted a different ending.’
Antonio Rudiger will bring his five-year stay at Chelsea to an end when he joins Real Madrid
When the questions moved on to his exit and whether there was ever a chance he might have stayed, he did not linger.
‘I don’t want to go deep into things,’ he replied, as he made his move for the team bus. ‘There was a chance, but sanctions is not the reason.’
Cesar Azpilicueta paused to confront his missed penalty and the lessons of another defeat on penalties by Liverpool.
Rudiger insists sanctions imposed on Chelsea were not the reasons behind his exit
‘Today, I see everything negatively,’ said Azpilicueta. ‘We feel bad because we come to the end of the season to win trophies.
‘It’s true we’ve got some trophies from last season, the Super Cup and the Club World Cup, which we have to appreciate. It was the first Club World Cup in the history of the club, the first Super Cup in many years, but when you lose two finals you are disappointed.’
Azpilicueta could leave, too, despite triggering a one-year extension to his contract by virtue of appearances. He wants to take his family home to Spain and Chelsea are prepared to grant his wish after a decade of loyal service — if they can find a replacement.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea's club captain, missed his spot kick