Mesut Ozil aims dig at Chelsea for letting ‘incredible’ ex-teammate go | Football

The former Arsenal star says his ex-teammate is sorely missed in west London (Picture: Getty)

Mesut Ozil has hailed Real Madrid’s Antonio Rudiger as the best defender in the world and believes Chelsea made an enormous mistake by letting him leave the club 18 months ago.

The 30-year-old centre-back gave an excellent display for the Spanish giants against Mallorca on Wednesday evening, helping the side record a clean sheet before bagging the only goal of the game in the 78th minute.

Rudiger rose highest from a corner to glance a header past Predrag Rajkovic, with the result securing Real’s place at the top of La Liga courtesy of their superior goal difference over surprise package Girona.

That is in large part thanks to their formidable defence, with Real having conceded just 11 goals in 19 league matches this season.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti was glowing about Rudiger’s performance afterwards, with the German having stepped up during an injury crisis at the back.

‘He has taken advantage of others’ injuries. He is performing at a very high level, with continuity,’ said the Italian coach.

‘He is always ready in duels. He is an insurance that we have behind. He is playing at his best.’

Rudiger and Ozil at the 2018 World Cup in Russia (Picture: Getty)

Ozil, who played alongside Rudiger for the German national team, was in full agreement and took to social media platform X to both praise his old team-mate and criticise Chelsea for allowing him to leave, a decision which he believes has contributed to their recent struggles.

‘Prime Toni Rudiger is just the world’s best defender at the moment. Incredible season for my former club Real Madrid,’ he wrote shortly after Real’s 1-0 victory over Mallorca.

‘You can also ask [Erling] Haaland or [Victor] Osimhen how good he is!

‘Look what has happened with Chelsea after he left… they are missing his mentality every day.’

Chelsea are currently in 10th place in the Premier League table and have shipped 31 goals in 20 matches this season.

The west Londoners had tried to keep Rudiger but he elected to move to the Bernabeu when his contract at Stamford Bridge expired in the summer of 2022, with his exit compounded by Andreas Christensen also leaving on a free transfer.

Chelsea have spent millions on new centre-backs since then, including Wesley Fofana, Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile, but all have struggled to fill the void left by Rudiger.


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