Rudiger: Alcohol stopped my UCL celebrations

Antonio Rudiger celebrated Chelsea’s Champions League triumph over Manchester City in 2021 by locking himself in the bathroom with N’Golo Kante, Hakim Ziyech and Kurt Zouma.

Rudiger chooses to abstain from alcohol as he is a practising Muslim whose parents fled the civil war in Sierra Leone. Therefore, he removes himself from situations that may jeopardise his beliefs.

As a result, Rudiger took to the toilet stalls with his Muslim team-mates after Chelsea’s 1-0 win over City to avoid engaging in the champagne showers that were due to take place in the changing room.

Chelsea were crowned as the 2021 Champions League winners after Kai Havertz found the back of the net before the half-time break. His goal came from a City turn over in the middle of the pitch.

Speaking about his experience after the game in an open letter to the Chelsea fans, Rudiger said via The Players Tribune: ‘The trophies that I have won here – they are nice, for sure.

And I will never forget this. N’Golo Kante had the biggest smile on his face. ‘Wow,’ he said. ‘We really did it.’ And he started laughing, like only he laughs.

‘When N’Golo Kante laughs, you cannot help but feel pure joy. All four of us started laughing like little kids. That moment in the bathroom, for me, is forever.’

Rudiger and his Chelsea team-mates are not the first players to avoid coming into contact with champagne due to their beliefs.

Sadio Mane respectfully asked Taki Minamino not to spray champagne during Liverpool’s Carabao Cup final celebrations in February.

Much like Rudiger, Mane is a devoted Muslim that chooses not to drink alcohol because of his religion. According to his beliefs, alcohol is ‘forbidden’ and ‘harmful’.

Therefore, Muslins don’t eat foods with ethanol, they don’t wear perfumes containing alcoholic ingredients and they stay away from all forms of intoxicating substances.

Mane’s exchange with Minamino was captured live on TV after Jurgen Klopp’s side beat Chelsea 11-10 on penalties to be crowned the Carabao Cup champions.

The Premier League giants were handed the trophy in the middle of the north stand before heading to the pitch shortly after to continue their celebrations.

The players congregated on the podium in the centre of the pitch. The stage was littered with bottles of champagne that were provided for spraying purposes.

Minamino picked up a bottle with the intention of pouring it over his teammates, but Mane kindly asked him to refrain from doing so. As a result, Minamino put the bottle down and continued to sing and dance with his colleagues.


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