Antonio Rudiger described the prospect of playing under Carlo Ancelotti as an “honor” after leaving Chelsea to join Real Madrid on a free transfer, as he targeted winning another Champions League title.
Rudiger signed a four-year contract with Madrid earlier this month, with his and Aurelien Tchouameni's arrivals at the Santiago Bernabeu already making for a significant transfer window.
He joins a side that has just won La Liga and the Champions League – the latter for a record-extending 14th time, while boss Ancelotti became the first coach to be crowned European champion on four occasions with last month's final win over Liverpool.
Rudiger, who was instrumental as Chelsea won European football's premier competition in 2021, believes working under the Italian can help him reach those heights once more.
"It's an honor to play for Carlo Ancelotti," he told the club's website. "I'm convinced I can still learn a lot from him, and I hope he can help me win another Champions League here.
"The manager has played a big part in this [transfer]. After I spoke to him, I was convinced I wanted to join Real Madrid. But in general, everything this club represents is evident.
"I've always said that the Champions League is Real Madrid's competition because that's where you see the club's real side.
"I'm very grateful to be here. It's like I'm dreaming, but this is real, and I feel immense pleasure to be here. I've never seen anything like this before."
Rudiger, who has won 53 caps for Germany, also revealed it was not international team-mate Toni Kroos that advised him to move to the Santiago Bernabeu, but Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who made 109 appearances during a four-year spell with the Spanish giants.
"I haven't spoken to Kroos too much about Real Madrid, I've spoken to Mateo Kovacic and he's told me a lot of things," Rudiger added. "He talked a lot about [Madrid and Croatia's Luka] Modric.
"He told me: 'You go there and enjoy it, it's a great move for you'. I've never heard a bad word about Real Madrid."
Rudiger has also been in touch with another former Blancos star since making the move to Spain, namely Brazil's legendary 2002 World Cup hero Ronaldo Nazario.
"Ronaldo played in the 2002 final against Germany sporting a very distinctive haircut," the defender recalled. "When we were kids playing football in the street, Ronaldo was our idol.
"When I signed, I spoke to him on a video call. I was excited and very nervous at the same time!"