The Germany international will pull the curtain on a five-year spell in London once his contract expires this summer.
Antonio Rudiger says he decided to leave Chelsea after the club went silent on him during talks for a new contract.
The 29-year-old defender will make his final appearance for the club on Sunday in a Premier League match against Watford at Stamford Bridge.
According to various reports, Rudiger has agreed to join Real Madrid for next season. Neither club nor player has commented on these claims so far. However, for the first time, Rudiger has spoken about his imminent exit from Chelsea and given his side of the story.
“Business is business, but when you don’t hear any news from the club from August to January, the situation becomes complicated,” Rudiger said in The Players Tribune.
“After the first offer, there was a long gap of just nothing.
“We [players] are not robots, you know? You cannot wait for months with so much uncertainty about your future. Obviously, no one saw the sanctions coming, but in the end, other big clubs were showing interest, and I had to make a decision.
“I will leave it at that, because business aside, I have nothing bad to say about this club.”
I don’t like goodbyes. But I will try to make this one special, from the heart.
My piece with @PlayersTribune @TPTFootball. #AlwaysBelieve #Hustle
— Antonio Rüdiger (@ToniRuediger) May 20, 2022
‘Chelsea will always be in my heart’
The German has made over 200 appearances for Chelsea after a €35 million transfer from Roma in 2017. He has helped the club win five trophies in the FA Cup, Europa League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Rudiger added: “I leave this club with a heavy heart. It has meant everything to me. Even this season, with all the complications, has been enjoyable.
“Chelsea will always be in my heart. London will always be my home. I came here alone, and now I have a wife and two beautiful kids. I also have a new brother for life named Kova [Mateo Kovacic]. I have an FA Cup, a Europa League, and a Champions League medal. And of course, I have hundreds of memories that will stay with me forever.”