'Second coming of Maldini' - Chelsea fans heap praise on defender after Champions League win

By Joshua Smith

Chelsea fans have heaped praise on Antonio Rudiger after the defender turned in a stellar performance to help the team secure a 1-0 Champions League win against Zenit.

Romelu Lukaku’s pinpoint header earned Chelsea a win in their first Champions League game as holders, as the 28-year-old converted captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s hanging far-post cross.

But Chelsea fans were impressed by Rudiger, who got pulses racing as he went on a mammoth 70 yard run into the Zenit box, before lashing a shot wildly wide.

He was also solid defensively, preventing Sardar Azmoun from sneaking through on goal with a brilliant intervention.

While Lukaku's goal will claim many of the headlines, fans were quick to draw attention to their defensive star following the win.

One person tweeted: "Rüdiger has been almost flawless tonight. There’s a reason clubs from across Europe are keeping tabs on his contract situation."

Another added: "There is no better defender in the world right now than Rudiger."

A third wrote: "Rudiger is different gravy now I can’t lie."

"Rüdiger’s redemption arc has been one of the biggest I’ve ever seen," a fourth person wrote. "This guy is the second coming of Maldini. What a tackle."

Here's what other fans had to say on social media.

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