Antonio Rüdiger - Remembering the Chelsea Star's Record-Breaking Immaculate Game

In every team, you need a Mr Reliable. Someone who can hold onto the ball, retain possession and keep everything under control. These players often go unnoticed, or worse still, they are lambasted for 'playing it safe' and being 'worse than a night out with Jesse Lingard'. 

Being neat in possession is a particular skill which is almost taken for granted nowadays. I mean, if your goalkeeper can't hit the crossbar with a no-look rabona, is he actually a professional footballer?  


But not everyone is blessed with the gift of an impressive side-foot square ball. In a world where we have defenders tripping over themselves to the left of us, and overhit passes nearly decapitating us to the right, Rüdiger is in the stuck in the middle, safety first, quietly building up his statistics. 

And so, his moment in the sun came on Sunday 10th March 2019, when he broke a record. Not just a personal record. Not even a club record. No, the German centre-back went one step further, breaking a Premier League record (since ​Opta data began in 2003/04, anyway) in a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

​Rüdiger completed 100% of his 91 passes over the course of the match, which is more than anyone has achieved before or since. Ninety-one passes. That's more than a pass a minute! (Cheers Geoff). 

Maurizio Sarri must have been chewing his cigarette butts with extra gusto as he witnessed Rüdiger produce a pass-terclass, (that's a pass masterclass) spraying the ball around like prime Pirlo to his fellow centre-backs. 

A top player makes even the most difficult parts of the job look very easy. Well, our ​Chelsea star makes the easy stuff look easy, like the true professional he is. What does that make him? Nothing short of a genius. 

"Who cares? He's a defender, his job is to stop the ball going in, not knock it about at the back!"

Joao Moutinho,Antonio Ruediger

Well you might be right. But unluckily for you, imaginary heckler, Rudiger also produced a stellar display at the back for the Blues. Possibly. Admittedly, ​Wolves did find a way through the Chelsea defence, but the ex-Roma man was not to blame - I promise. 

Sarri's men eventually pulled level, when ​Eden Hazard drove home two minutes into stoppage time. We can only imagine what must be going through a player's mind in such an occasion, but I'm pretty sure it was along the lines of: "Do it for Rüdiger. Don't let his passing accuracy be for nothing." 

And alas, one year later we find ourselves reminiscing over that magical occasion, when the 91st pass left the big German's foot. The entire crowd held its breath, and once again, just like the other 90, Rüdiger delivered. Five yards to the left, and safety. Magic. 

Although the Chelsea fans saw a determined fightback from their 11 heroes on that day, the Stamford Bridge faithful left knowing they'd witnessed something bigger than football itself. 

91 placed passes. Not one misplaced. 

You can't spell Antonio Rüdiger without the word 'great'. Coincidence? I'll let you be the judge of that. 

Source : 90min