Antonio Rüdiger: ‘Never count Germany out – anything can happen’

Defender on ‘scary’ Brazil, leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid and donating his World Cup earnings to help children in Sierra LeoneAntonio Rüdiger is bullish but realistic. “Honestly, if we speak about favourites we have to speak about form,” the defender says as he considers Germany’s hopes of winning the World Cup in Qatar. “And before the last international break you look at teams like Brazil and France. I think because of our current form, maybe not so much. But we are a big nation and have a good team. You can never count us out. Anything can happen.”The delivery is typical Rüdiger: forthright, honest, no prisoners taken. The Real Madrid centre-back’s role for Germany has developed. He has become one of the elder statesmen and is aware he has a responsibility to keep standards high in the dressing room. “I am one of the players who’s been there longest,” Rüdiger says. “I have to be one of the leaders.”

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