The 29-year-old defender has been strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in recent months, with the likes of Juventus, Real Madrid and Manchester United reportedly interested in his services.
No confirmation surrounding Rudiger's future has been made public until today, when Chelsea boss Tuchel spoke to the media after the club's dramatic 1-0 win against West Ham.
In a classy post-match interview, Tuchel explained the current situation before paying tribute to Rudiger's influence in the dressing room.
"He informed me some days ago in a personal talk," Tuchel told Sky Sports. "We gave everything and now we enter a situation where we can't fight any more because of the sanctions and now Toni will leave.
"Our hands are tied. I don't know what would have been the outcome [without the sanctions]. That's his decision. It's not a nice one for us but we don't take it personally.
"He is a key figure and will stay a key figure for us. We will miss him a lot. He is a guy who gives people courage, who people are a bit afraid of. He plays 55 games a season for 90 minutes at an outstanding level.
"He was the top defender in the past one and a half years with me and I have nothing but respect for him."
🗣 "I have the feeling that we gave everything over many months, me personally and also the club gave everything"— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 24, 2022
🗣 "We entered a situation where we could not fight anymore because of the sanctions" pic.twitter.com/m7Nw2ENycD
🗣 "He's a huge influence in the dressing room, he's the guy to give other people courage"— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 24, 2022
Tuchel say's he will miss Antonio Rudiger 'a lot' and describes him as a 'top defender' 👇 pic.twitter.com/jjvZGHsZRS
In his post-match press conference that followed, Tuchel confirmed the decision surrounding his future at Chelsea was not the reason behind his absence for Sunday's Premier League clash against West Ham.
"He's injured. No concerns from him," he added.
"He has no doubts and he made no doubts that he will play until the end of the season. This is what he did from day one and this is what he'll do for the last minute."
So where will Rudiger play next season?
La Liga leaders Real Madrid are leading the race to sign the German international, according to GOAL, who claim Los Blancos are in 'advanced talks' with his representatives over a free transfer.
A number of other clubs are interested in Rudiger, however, with Premier League strugglers Manchester United being named in the report.
Officials at Old Trafford are believed to hopeful of convincing him to remain in England, while Juventus and Barcelona are also believed to be keen.
Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports
- Chelsea Considering Leicester Defender As Antonio Rudiger Replacement
- Antonio Rudiger Reserves Special Praise For N'Golo Kante In Heartfelt Goodbye Letter To Chelsea
- Chelsea plot stunning swoop for Man United star, fans will be shocked
- Antonio Rudiger Celebrated Chelsea’s Champions League Glory In The Toilets Last Year