Antonio Rudiger claims Chelsea left him waiting for months for a new contract offer after confirming he would leave Stamford Bridge this summer.
The centre-back is set to join Real Madrid as a free agent – but has opened up for the first time about the negotiations which led to his decision to leave.
Chelsea were ready to make Rudiger the highest-paid defender in club history – by offering him a deal worth £230,000 a week.
Penalties imposed on Roman Abramovich have complicated the talks – but Rudiger claims Chelsea have waited too long to act.
“Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get difficult last fall,” he said. “Business is business, but when you don’t hear from the club from August to January, things get complicated.
“After the first offer, there was a long gap of nothing. We are not robots, you know? You can’t wait months with so much uncertainty about your future.
“Obviously nobody saw the sanctions coming, but in the end other big clubs showed interest, and I had to make a decision. I’ll stop there, because business aside, I have nothing bad to say about this club.
Chelsea are confident a deal could have been reached before penalties imposed on Abramovich prevented them from offering new contracts or signing players.
Rudiger added to the Players’ Tribune: “I leave this club with a heavy heart. It meant everything to me. Even this season, with all the complications, has been enjoyable. Football is football. We are lucky enough to play a game for a living that we would play for free anyway.
“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 children.
“I also have a new brother for life who is called Kova (Mateo Kovaci). I have an FA Cup, a Europa League and a Champions League medal. And of course I have hundreds of memories who will stay with me forever.