Rüdiger, who was part of a Chelsea side that started the season with four wins and one draw in their first game and conceded just one goal, was described as “huge” by the former Manchester United and England defender.
Although the Blues had a number of defensive options, including Trevoh Chalobah, Cesar Azpiliqueta, Andreas Christensen, Reece James and Thiago Silva, Rudiger was a mainstay for Stamford Bridge during that time having missed the starting line while Frank Lampard was in charge.
Ferdinand believes Manchester City’s centre-back Ruben Dias and Rüdiger were the standout defenders in the Premier League last year, but the German’s impact on his team-mates made him the best in the league.
“Since Tuchel came on I thought he was probably the best centre-back. I thought him and Dias would be close, but the impact he had on his team was huge. Under Frank [Lampard] it was definitely not the Frank Cup of tea. He really didn’t like him. There were rumors that he was trying to sell him to the market.
It has always been highly valued in Germany. But if the manager doesn’t rate you and you can feel it, I don’t care who you are, your confidence beats and it’s hard to present yourself at that level.
The German, who has just 12 months remaining at Stamford Bridge, is currently negotiating a new contract with the Chelsea board to keep Thomas Tuchel, one of his stars, at the club.
“I hope they find a solution, but it’s not just between the coach and the players and what we want and that’s why it’s between the club, the players and the agent,” he said. We hope they will find a solution and all I can say is he has played perfectly and has been very consistent at a very high level for a long time.
“I feel very calm and focused and it doesn’t bother him. So everything is in place and giving them the time they need. Sometimes it takes a little longer, sometimes it goes really fast.
No news from me and I think Toni is feeling very, very well at Chelsea, he feels very respected by his team-mates and he feels the importance he has in the team.
“It’s deserved because he delivers, he feels the love of the fans when he plays. He plays in the strongest league in Europe, at a big club, so there’s not much reason to change that.”