Antonio Rudiger says he has been waiting to return to Roma ever since the Champions League group stage draw was made.

The 24-year-old made 72 appearances for the Serie A side before completing a £34m transfer to Chelsea in July, and the defender says he has been eagerly preparing for his return to the Italian capital.

“I’m happy to go to Rome and play against my old team. First of all, I have big respect for this club because I had two wonderful years there,” Rudiger said, in an interview on Chelsea’s official website.

“I spoke to my parents [before the draw] and I already knew. They told me, ‘For sure you will get Roma – it always happens like this, the ex plays against the ex.’”

Rudiger still remains fond of his former club, but has warned his Chelsea team mates that Tuesday’s game will be no walk in the park.

The two teams meet at the Stadio Olimpico a fortnight after playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw Stamford Bridge and for Rudiger, it presents his first match in Rome since leaving the club in the summer.

“We need to be ready in their stadium because it will be very, very hard. I know this team. They want to play football and they always have this desire, no matter what the situation is.

“[Edin Dzeko is a very dangerous striker, like in the Premier League, everyone knows him. Also [Aleksandar] Kolarov at the back, who comes with a lot of power.”

Chelsea currently sit top of Group C with seven points from three games, and can qualify to the next phase if Atletico Madrid fail to beat Qarabag in the Spanish capital tonight.