One of the best players in the last decade, Arjen Robben, decided to come back out of retirement after a season off the field. The former Netherlands forward, who also played for several other European powerhouses, intends to play for his childhood club – Groningen.
The 36-year old veteran was very excited about having the opportunity to play for the Dutch side, and he spoke about that in a brief interview.
“It is my dream to wear the Groningen shirt again,” he said.”These past weeks I’ve had many conversations with club staff, and maybe more than anything, I’ve listened to the call of our supporters: Arjen, follow your heart!”
— FC Groningen English (@FCGroningen_EN) June 27, 2020
It is major news in European football today, even though there are several leagues and competitions taking place. All that put aside because of Robben’s decision.
Groningen ended ninth in the Dutch Eredivisie, not being able to finish its campaign and try to reach the European stage. Unfortunately, alongside Belgium, the Netherlands was the first country in Europe to conclude its championship and to put an end on football in this campaign.
Robben said that he always wanted to come back to Groningen and that he wants to help his youth club to go through these hard times.
“I don’t know yet whether this will work. What I do know is that it will not depend on my commitment and motivation,” adding that he might help in these harsh times. “The club can use any help during this period to get through the corona crisis.”
Robben arrived at Groningen in 1996 as the talented 12-year old, and stayed until 2002, appearing 52 times for the senior team and scoring 12 goals. The national powerhouse, PSV, immediately reacted, buying the pacey winger who stayed two seasons with them netting 22 times in 75 matches. Robben and the team from Eindhoven won the national championship and a Super Cup before he left for Chelsea, who was a rising force in the football world at the time.
During his stay at Stamford Bridge, he became an indispensable part of Jose Mourinho’s team, who became the dominant side in England, with two EPL titles, one FA Cup, two EFL Cups, and one Community Shield. Even though he scored just 19 goals in 105 games, his impact on the field was far greater than that, and he already became one of the best players in Europe.
Robben’s next destination was Real Madrid, but his tenure there wasn’t very shiny like the previous ones. From 2007 until 2009, he played 65 times contributing with 13 goals capturing La Liga and Supercopa Espana.
But then came the best decision of his life. Bayern Munich appeared, and Robben didn’ wait for one moment to become a part of the four-time European champions at the time. Alongside Franck Ribery, he formed a duo, which became legendary not only in Munich but also in Europe.
One Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup, eight Bundesliga titles, five DFB Pokal Cups, five Super Cups, all this Bayern won with him in the lineup. That is why the fans of the Bavarians consider him and Ribery as arguably the two best foreigners to play in their team.
Robben played 96 events for the national team hitting the target 37 times, but failing to win any silverware. His Netherlands lost the finals of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, and reached the third place at the next WC in Brazil in 2014.
His comeback will be a fantastic deal for all the fans across the world, even though Groningen isn’t some world-class side whose ability to fight for trophies.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.