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Real Madrid sign defender Rudiger from Chelsea

 May 22, 2022 Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger gestures after the match. REUTERS

Real Madrid have agreed a deal to sign Germany international defender Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer with his contract with Premier League club Chelsea expiring, both clubs said on Thursday.

Centre back Rudiger will be at Real for the next four seasons, the LaLiga champions said, adding that a presentation ceremony will be held for him on June 20.

The 29-year-old was a key player for Chelsea since joining the club from Italian side AS Roma in 2017.

"I'm super excited for all the challenges ahead and can't wait to play my first games for this huge club," Rudiger said on his Twitter account.

Chelsea described Rudiger as "as one of the most passionate characters to represent the club in recent memory".

Rudiger played more than 200 times in all competitions for Chelsea and won the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup with the London club.

Rudiger initially arrived at Roma on loan from VfB Stuttgart, where he started his career, in 2015 before making the switch permanent at the end of that season.

He has 50 international caps for Germany since making his debut in 2014.