Real Madrid-linked Germany international Antonio Rudiger has finally come clean as to why he has decided not to extend his contract with Chelsea.
The centre-back has called time on his career in west London, and looks set to challenge himself in the Iberian Peninsula with Real Madrid next, with reports suggesting he has agreed a five-year deal with Los Blancos.
After five trophy-laden years at Stamford Bridge, during which he lifted the FA Cup, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, and UEFA Champions League titles, the 29-year-old has now revealed how his imminent exit from the Blues came to be.
"Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get difficult last fall," the former AS Roma man wrote in The Players' Tribune.
"Business is business, but when you don't hear any news from the club from August to January, the situation becomes complicated.
"After the first offer, there was a long gap of just nothing. We're not robots, you know? You cannot wait for months with so much uncertainty about your future.
"Obviously, no one saw the sanctions coming, but in the end, other big clubs were showing interest, and I had to make a decision. I will leave it at that, because business aside, I have nothing bad to say about this club.
"Chelsea will always be in my heart. London will always be my home. I came here alone, and now I have a wife and two beautiful kids.
"I also have a new brother for life named Kova [Chelsea teammate Mateo Kovacic]. I have an FA Cup, a Europa League and a Champions League medal. And of course, I have hundreds of memories that will stay with me forever.
"I leave this club with a heavy heart. It has meant everything to me. I will always be Chelsea.
"Thank you. Rudi."
Rudiger is not the only defender Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will be without come the beginning of next season as Andreas Christensen, another centre-back whose contract runs out at the end of the season, has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona.
Interest from the Camp Nou is also said to have been shown in Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso.
Here are 10 confirmed transfers that have already transpired for the 2022/23 season: