Antonio Rudiger is arguably one of the best defenders right now and time and again he has proved his mettle. In the match against Mallorca on Wednesday, not only did the defender claim a clean sheet but also headed in an all-important goal.
That 78th-minute goal from a Luka Modric corner made sure that Los Blancos stayed on top of the La Liga table on goal difference.
Both Éder Militão and David Alaba have suffered ACL injuries and team captain Nacho was suspended for the game. So, it was all on the German’s experienced shoulders to guide the defence. With the majority of Real Madrid defence unavailable, fans appreciated the efforts Rudiger put in at the back.
With his eccentric nature, battles with the strikers, unusual gestures and reactions at times, and his aggressive personality on the pitch, Rudiger has claimed the nickname ‘Loco’ from the fans. His name is chanted in the stadium often.
In an interview after the game, a Spanish reporter bluntly asked Rudiger if the people from the stands calling him “Poco Loco”, meaning “a little bit crazy”, bothers him. With a smile, Rudiger replied, “No, because I am a bit loco”.
The player was mentioning it in a positive sense regarding his extreme passion towards the game, that might border on crazy. He even added that it is not at all a problem for him but a good thing if everybody gets to have a laugh at his expense.
He considers himself a bit crazy and this isn’t the first time that he has admitted to it. Even during his early days after joining over from Chelsea, Rudiger in an interview with Sport1 had said that his new teammates have realized that he is crazy.
Rudiger has mentioned that the ex-Madrid defender Pepe was his role model as a player. He wanted to not only be as good at defence as the Portuguese but also wanted to be tough and aggressive like him. This craziness of his, in part, can be attributed to that.
The defender’s teammates never miss an opportunity to mention that Rudiger is built differently either. In a pre-match interview before the UCL away game at Union Berlin, Lukas Vazquez was asked a similar question about whether the player thinks that Rudiger is a little crazy.
Vazquez had gone on to describe Rudiger as not just a bit crazy but a madman, while laughing heavily. According to him, Rudiger is at an incredible level and nobody can find out the secret behind that.
His teammates enjoy Rudiger’s presence in the dressing room and once in a while join in on the craziness. Even his crazy celebrations are part of the package for them. The likes of Bellingham, Joselu, and Rodrygo were seen chasing and hitting him after he had scored, just as he likes to do when they score.
Admiring his mentality, even his countryman Mesut Ozil tweeted about how he is the best of the best right now and that Chelsea is missing this very mentality in their dressing room. Maybe a bit of craziness is the secret ingredient after all.