Antonio Rudiger has had an “okay” start to his life at Real Madrid.
The German defender moved to Spain for free, after his contract with Chelsea expired at the end of last season.
Averaging a rating of 7.08 in La Liga as per FotMob, Rudiger has played 8 games thus far and managed only one clean sheet, which came in their most recent match, against Getafe.
His fortune has not been very different on the other end of the pitch either. Rudiger has scored only one goal, which came in injury time against Mallorca, which Madrid was winning 3-1 anyway.
That being said, Real Madrid still sits at joint-top of the league table with rivals Barcelona, winning 7 and drawing 1 game so far.
Champions League has been different though.
The defender has played 2 and a half games for Madrid this season and averaged a rating of 8.8.
Two back-to-back clean sheets in the first couple of games helped the Spanish giants to the top spot in their group.
Tuesday was the third match of the group stage, with Real Madrid playing Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine.
Rudiger, now a certain starter under Ancelotti, unlike previous CL clashes, failed to keep a clean sheet this time around.
Oleksandr Zubkov opened the scoring for the home team just after halftime, thanks to Mendy’s misjudged header that allowed Oleksandr to convert the cross.
Shakhtar came very close to doubling their lead but striker Traore could not keep his shot on target with the goal gaping.
Not fazed by the opponent’s attacking intent, Madrid started piling men forward.
The second minute of injury time saw defender Rudiger charge into the box and connect a header that sailed wide from the post.
Just when we thought that an upset was on the cards, an almost identical ball into the box was met by the same defender, but with a different outcome this time.
Real Madrid had found their equaliser and there was pandemonium in the stands and in the dugout but Rudiger was left on the deck, head in his hands.
Replays showed that in the process of winning the header, Rudiger’s face made contact with the on-rushing Shakhtar goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin.
Trubin, off the line and contesting for the ball, was beaten to the ball and instead went shoulder-first into the German, who was left bleeding.
As is the norm, medics ran onto the pitch and tended to the injured.
The keeper was also hurt and required a bandage before continuing.
But it was Rudiger who stole the headlines.
When being taken off the pitch, eagle-eyed viewers spotted something that made the equalizer and the player even more loved by the fans.
A blood stain in the shape of a heart can be seen next to the club badge on the jersey.
The German is known for his fighting and undying spirit, and what better way to show it that scoring in the last minute and leaving nothing on the line.
For a player who declined arch-rivals Barcelona as it was “Madrid on nothing” for him during the summer window, this indeed was a poetic moment.
Add this to a famous quote by Real Madrid legend Santiago Bernabeu, after whom their stadium is named, and you see why Twitter went head over heels for this.
While this is all well and good, Madristas would be hoping that the injury is not serious enough to keep him out of the next game, a blockbuster showdown of the two teams at the top, the El Clasico.