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Real Madrid defender Antonio Rüdiger opens up to GQ about racism, Vini Jr, Spanish food and life in Spain

The German defender spoke to GQ and revealed his wish of winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.

The German defender spoke to GQ and revealed his wish of winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.

Antonio Rüdiger gave an interview to GQ in which he spoke about his first season as a Real Madrid player, marking Erling Haaland and some interesting aspects of his private life.

Marking Haaland in the Champions League: I was absolutely calm. I know how far I can go if I am 100% physically and mentally. Circumstances were created that I love. In the days before, the media was wondering if I was going to be able to defend Haaland. There were a lot of doubts in the atmosphere and if I’m honest, I love that atmosphere: I shine even more when people doubt me.

On whether he has suffered racism in Spain: If you ask me if anyone has been racist towards me in Spain, the answer is no. There was a misunderstanding in Cádiz: it was published that they had been racist with me but I didn’t hear them say whatever horrible things were said. If you ask me if Vinícius Jr suffers from it, it’s obvious that he does. And when they insult him and are racist towards him, they are automatically racist towards me, even if they didn’t say it directly to me. But this is not just a problem in Spain, it happens everywhere.

Do you think Spain is racist? Racism is a lack of education. I have always said it and I always repeat it. It’s important to say that it’s not all Spaniards, it’s some idiots. There are many Spaniards who do not tolerate racism. It is very important to point out that racists are only a minority in this country, but they need to be corrected. How do we put an end to this problem? The only thing I can say is to educate your children at school. It is very important that everybody knows that we are all equal.

What motivates Rüdiger: The most important motivation for me comes from my family. They see in me what no one else sees in me. They know better than anyone when I’m not in a good mood and they help me. For me the family is a motivation and it’s an emotion, it’s something that pushes me forward. If you play for Real Madrid and you’re not motivated by it, you have a problem.

Rüdiger took part in Real Madrid's pre-season trip to the USA.
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Rüdiger took part in Real Madrid's pre-season trip to the USA.Kirby LeeUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

How he prepares before a game: I’m a Muslim. I believe in God and that’s why I like to pray before games. I pray that all the players, those in my team and the rivals will not be injured and I also pray for all the people at the stadium. I don’t need much, just to pray.

How life is going in Madrid: I am very happy. I love the enormous amount of food options. I love Spanish food, although many of their dishes have pork in them, because of my religion I can’t eat it. But I’m really looking forward to trying Paella. Above all, what I like the most is that there are people from many different backgrounds living in peace. There are South Americans, African-Americans, Spaniards all living in peace.