Antonio Rudiger made his Chelsea debut today against Inter Milan in Singapore, but it was been quite a journey to get to this point.
The 24-year-old was a target of the Blues last summer, however in the build up to Euro 2016 the German international tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and was ruled out.
He returned playing for Roma in October, but a move to Chelsea was put on the back-burner as he stayed in Serie A and saw out the rest of the season there.
But now the centre-back is a Chelsea player, and he is keen to make his mark at Stamford Bridge and in the Premier League.
Talking about the injury, he said: “It could have been the biggest moment of my career. It was the biggest moment at the time. But I believe in God and everything has its time. So one year later I won the Confederations Cup and one year later I am at Chelsea.
“Of course, at that moment it was sad. I knew then that I had to work to get stronger back. And this is what happened.
“It is a dream to be here. I always wanted to play in the Premier League and it is now years since my name was first linked to Chelsea.
“Now I am here and I am very happy and want to thank all the people that made this come true.
“Everything bides time. At the time it wasn’t the right moment and now I am here.”
Rudiger was subjected to racial taunts from Lazio fans in the Rome derby in March, having already had racist remarks aimed at him by Lazio left-back Senad Lulic just three months earlier.
The Germany international admitted that his time in Italy had been difficult because of that, and that he was keen for the authorities to do more to stamp it out.
“Not all Italian people are racist. For me, I just want justice. I want FIFA or the FA in Italy just to suspend those people who do that,” Rudiger said.
“It is not all the people in Italy who are like that. If we always talk about racism in Italy, people think that all Italians are racist people and it is not like that.
“I just mean those specific people who do that. And it is not all. But those people need to be banned from the stadium or fined. But not all Italians are racist.
“You feel alone. I can keep my focus but people love to say ‘stay calm’ or ‘don’t do anything’. It is easy for you to say those things when you are not black and you never feel what it is like.
“You cannot even put yourself in my position of how that feels. In that moment, it is like this. You are alone.
“You have to be strong. But each human is different. Someone takes it and doesn’t react. Other react. I can understand both.”