Fans bombard Antonio Rudiger in Sierra Leone, one jumps on his back

As one of the world’s top central defenders, Chelsea‘s Antonio Rudiger isn’t one to back down from a challenge.

The German international is one of the key lynchpins of manager Thomas Tuchel‘s setup. He stands in the way of attackers like a roadblock, and just getting past him is a major puzzle in itself.

Rudiger’s form has attracted the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, all of whom will be battling for his signature this summer. You sense that the centre-back would thrive at all three clubs, and prepare to face every task head on.

Read: The clubs battling to sign Antonio Rudiger this summer

But not even he was ready for the reception he received during a visit to Sierra Leone.

Why Antonio Rudiger was in Sierra Leone

The Premier League is currently on its winter break. Chelsea do not play a league fixture until February 19 – although they do take on Plymouth in the FA Cup on February 5.

Read: Five of the biggest FA Cup Third Round upsets

Rudiger has decided to make full use of his downtime. He has travelled to Sierra Leone to set up his new foundation, titled ‘The Antonio Rudiger Foundation For Sierra Leone’. The centre-back has Sierra Leonean heritage, with his mother having been born in the country.

Speaking to the Chelsea website last year, he explained that he was “very proud” of that fact. He has also provided food and face masks for hospitals in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rudiger’s incredible reception

Nobody could prepare Rudiger for the sheer size of the reception he received upon arrival in the country, from many excited fans.

The Chelsea defender posted a video to Twitter, showing him being mobbed as he arrived.

He captioned the post: “I’m speechless – these people are crazy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this overwhelming welcome, Sierra Leone. God bless you all.”

In the footage, loud music can be heard blaring out, with some fans carrying Rudiger placards.

One fan then jumps on the defender’s back – and falls off – as security attempt to guide him through the huge crowd. The video ends with the sound of what is likely a police siren, alongside fans chanting for the 28-year-old.

It is incredible and heartwarming to witness such adulation for the defender, and it is a reception that Rudiger will no doubt never forget.

Featured Image Credit: Getty