Arjen Robben retires from football at 37 is the main headline this week. This is the second time Robben has retired, initially doing so in July 2019, following his release from Bayern Munich. He came out of retirement for the 2020/21 season, joining his boyhood club FC Groningen. However, he made only seven appearances, as he was kept out by a serious calf injury.
Arjen Robben Retires for Second Time
Arjen Robben’s Career: Eredivisie, Chelsea and Real Madrid
Robben joined FC Groningen as a youngster, and was handed his debut as a 16-year-old in the 1999/00 season. He impressed so much that he was named as their player of the season in his debut campaign. He earned himself a move to Eredivisie big-boys PSV Eindhoven following two impressive seasons. Picking up where he left off, Robben scored 21 goals in 75 games across two seasons for PSV.
Naturally, Robben gained the attention of Europe’s top leagues, and signed for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2004. After securing back-to-back titles, he jetted off to become a Galactico with Real Madrid. He enjoyed a successful two seasons with the club, winning La Liga in the process before leaving as a result of Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival. Madrid’s loss was Bayern Munich’s gain.
Longevity With Bayern Munich
Robben joined Bayern for €25 million – €10 million less than what Madrid payed Chelsea – ending his habit of swapping clubs every few seasons. He enjoyed a highly successful ten years in Munich, forming a deadly partnership with Franck Ribery. He found his eye for goal for Bayern, averaging just below one goal every other game.
The Dutchman finished on an agonising 99 Bundesliga goals, winning the title on eight occasions out of a possible ten. During his time, he was regularly in the conversation as one of ‘the best of the rest’, after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In 2014, he finished 4th place in the Ballon d’Or award.
Following his release from Bayern Munich, in July 2019, Robben decided to retire from football. However, one year later, he re-signed for Groningen. He decided to help out his boyhood club, who were suffering badly following Covid-19 setbacks.
Robben has always suffered with injuries. He was never hampered as much as he was in his return season, however. A calf injury saw him limited to just seven appearances.
On the international stage, Robben made 96 appearances for the Netherlands, scoring 36 goals. He featured in no less than six international tournaments, suffering heartbreak as Netherlands lost the 2010 World Cup final to Spain.
Arjen Robben Retires as One of the Greatest Inverted Wingers
Arjen Robben started out as a traditional left-winger, which served him to great fruition. At Chelsea and Real Madrid, he often bounced around either flanks. At Bayern Munich, though, he went full force as the inverted winger was unleashed.
Not many players possess as sweet of a left boot as Arjen Robben. His ability to cut inside and shoot from range was simply unmatched by any other player. Despite the fact that it was glaringly obvious what Robben would do when running at a defender, that didn’t make it any easier to stop him.
Robben, and one of the other great inverted wingers of this generation, Frank Ribery, formed the basis of Bayern’s attack for a decade. Together, they helped bring unprecedented success to the Allianz Arena. They scored a combined 268 goals, lifted eight Bundesliga titles, and won one Champions League.
It will be interesting to see if Robben chooses to go into management or coaching in the near future. If he does, there aren’t many better players for up and coming prospects to learn from.
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