Real Madrid are one of the biggest and most successful clubs in all of football. And they have based their achievements on pride with impeccable quality on the pitch.
In the 2021-2022 season, they won the Champions League for a record-extending 14th time by beating Liverpool in the final, thanks to a solitary goal by Brazilian star Vinicius Junior.
They had also won their 35th La Liga title by some distance with their striker Karim Benzema inspiring the team to the title with his 39-goal involvements in 32 matches in the league, notching up 27 goals in the process.
2022-2023 for Carlo Ancelotti’s men have started the new season along the same way, if not better.
Los Blancos currently sit on top of the league table and are heading into the round of 16 in the Champions League without registering a single defeat in any competition yet.
Santiago Bernabeu, the club legend, had once said “The Real Madrid shirt is white. It can stain of mud, sweat and even blood. But never of shame.”
Antonio Rudiger, one of their new summer signings, has taken Bernabeu’s words to his heart.
The defending European champions were trailing 0-1 away to Shakhtar Donetsk in their group stage in the Champions League. But the German center-back rescued a point in dying seconds by heading a pin-point Toni Kroos assist into the back of the net.
The goal though came at a cost.
Rudiger was left with a gruesome gash and blood streaming from his face after colliding with Shakhtar goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin.
He is definitely cut from a different cloth with the latest example of the ex-Chelsea man’s warrior spirit on showcase in Warsaw.
Despite pouring blood from the nasty collision, he didn’t stay on the ground. He saw the ball heading into the back of the net, then he got up and did not lie down until David Alaba forced him to the ground.
Following the incident, Real Madrid doctors rushed to Rudiger’s aid and stitched up the wound which required a whopping 20 stitches to heal after the match.
During the pre-match press conference before this week’s game against RB Leipzig, the defender’s eye was still blood-red with the stitches still clearly visible.
Always an enigmatic and entertaining presence on the pitch, he would be looking forward to using the well-earned plaudits from the fans to take his game further up a notch and do what Real Madrid does – win trophies.