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'Be humble': Chelsea's Rüdiger launches Sierra Leone foundation

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Chelsea's German defender Antonio Rüdiger (L) vies with Brighton's German midfielder Pascal Groß during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England, on January 18, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
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Freetown, Sierra Leone — On Thursday, Chelsea defender Antonio Rüdiger launched an educational foundation to support sports literacy in Sierra Leone, the West African nation where his mother was born.اضافة اعلان

Rüdiger, 28, arrived on Monday during the Premier League's international break.

"It's a huge pleasure for me and my family to be here. I don't see myself as a superstar because my parents always tell me to be humble — that's why I'm here today," Rüdiger said.

"To me, this foundation means a lot because I don't want it to be a one-man show. I want it to be something we all — most importantly the young generation and the community — can look up to," he added.

Berlin-born Rüdiger, who has 49 caps for Germany, shared a clip on his Twitter account earlier in the week with the caption: "I'm speechless. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this overwhelming welcome, Sierra Leone. God bless you all."

Since his arrival, he has watched the Sierra Leone Amputee Football Club play, prompting the star to say, "Life is not about hope; it's about the faith in realizing your dreams on your own.”

He has often spoken out against racism in the sport, most notably after a match against Tottenham in February 2020.

In 2021, he wrote a piece for The Players' Tribune, entitled "This Article Will Not Solve Racism in Football.”

During the announcement Thursday, he was flanked by his mother and brothers to applause as they sang a Christian song.

The ceremony concluded with a $40,000 (36,000 euro) pledge by Rüdiger and an auction for his autographed No. 2 Chelsea jersey, which sold to a fan for $2,000.

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