There is absolutely no doubt that Arjen Robben was one of the most gifted players of this generation. The Dutchman started his career at Groningen and then moved to some of the top clubs in Europe. He had great stints with Chelsea and Real Madrid but his biggest achievements came during his time at Bayern Munich.
Arjen Robben was one of the most watchable players of this generation.
Known for his blistering pace, remarkable dribbling and exceptional ball control, Robben had one of the most gifted left foot in World football. His trademark cut-in goals from the right were one of the greatest spectacles of this generation. The Flying Dutchman has decided to hang up his boots for the second time since returning from retirement to feature for his boyhood club Groningen.
He has featured for some of the top clubs in Europe and has had innumerable special moments in his illustrious career. He has also represented the Netherlands for 13 long years and has guided them to the finals of the World Cup in 2010. So amidst all his achievements we list out his top five moments from a much celebrated career.
#5 Overflow of emotions after MOTM display on return from injury
Nicknamed the 'Man of Glass' for his persistent injury problems, Robben was sidelined for around seven months before returning to the field for Groningen. The Dutchman was named in the starting XI in an Eredivisie match against Emmen and the veteran winger was simply delighted to be back on the field again after a long injury layoff.
In Groningen's 4-0 demolition of FC Emmen in Eredivise, Robben came up with two assists to guide his boyhood club to a scintillating win on his return. It was a great moment for the winger as he was out of action for such a long time and returned to his best with two assists. It was a sign of the winning mentality that he showed throughout his glorious footballing career.
At the end of the game, Robben found out that he was acknowledged as the Man of the Match for his sensational performance in a famous win. Hearing this news, the Dutchman simply broke down in tears. All that frustration and sadness came out through gushing through tears. His motivation to play for Groningen at the end of his career has always been to help the club grow. It may not be the most remarkable moment in Robben's career but it was truly magical seeing his passion for the game even after winning so many accolades.
#4 Demolition against St. Pauli
It was a rather meaningless fixture in the Bundesliga back in 2011 when Bayern locked horns with lowly St Pauli. Borussia Dortmund had already secured the German title that season and there was very little motivation for the Bavarians to produce something extraordinary. However for St. Pauli it was a matter of survival as losing that game would mean relegation.
It was a match where Robben, Franck Ribery and Mario Gomez worked in tandem and produced an attacking masterclass. The Bavarians dominated the game from start to finish, winning 8-1 against St. Pauli. Robben ended the night netting two goals and providing three assists. That day, the Dutchman proved his attacking prowess and gave a glimpse to the Bayern fans of what they can expect in the coming years.
While his goalscoring ability is highly lauded, his creativity and playmaking do not get that much recognition. Robben's assists were different in nature, one came from a corner and the other was a result of an inch perfect through ball. he also stepped up to score a rare headed goal. This performance may not have come against the fiercest of opponents but it will always be a testament to his exceptional attacking prowess.
#3 Scoring in his penultimate game for Bayern
It was a perfect parting gift for the fans as Arjen Robben ended his folklore in Bavaria with a brilliant goal against Eintracht Frankfurt. The Bavarians thumped Die A 5-1 but the result was of little importance. It was the penultimate game for both Robben and Ribery and surprisingly both the veteran wingers found a way to put the ball in the back of the net.
The match went on like a script written for the Dutchman and his partner in crime on their last day at the Allianz Arena. Brazilian defender Rafinha was also departing the club and emotions were high all around. Both Ribery and Robben were introduced in the second half and Bayern had a comfortable 3-1 lead over Frankfurt.
What followed was pure ectascy as Ribery came up with a delicate chip over the keeper to make it 4-1. Robben took it as a challenge and though the Dutchman's goal was a mere tap-in after he was served on a plate by David Alaba, it was no less special for the winger. One of the most fabled duos in modern football left Bavaria after several years of association with their eyes wet and heads held high.
#2 Guiding Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup finals
The most popular image from this World Cup has to be Robben failing to convert his golden opportunity as Spain's Iker Casillas comes up with a great save. It was a painful miss, and even till date the Dutchman regrets that miss. He has won several trophies, earned several accolades and played for some of the top teams but he had to settle for a World Cup silver medal. It is something the veteran winger has not come to terms with.
The 2010 World Cup was Robben's best International tournament for the Oranje
Before the finals against Spain, it was Robben who spearheaded the Dutch attack as he was in red hot form throughout the quadrennial tournament. He finished the tournament with two goals and as many assists. Robben combined with Wesley Sneijder to guide Oranje past Brazil in the quarterfinals. The Dutchman then scored the all-important winner against Uruguay in the semifinals.
Robben along with Sneijder, Dirk Kut and Robin Van Persie were the fulcrum of the Dutch side which made it to the World Cup finals and missed out on the trophy by a whisker. Keeping his most painful memory aside, Robben had a sensational World Cup for the Netherlands in 2010 and it has to be his top performance at an international event.
#1 The day he became Bayern's very own 'Mr. Wembley'
Probably the biggest moment of his illustrious career was when he slotted the ball beyond Roman Weidenfeller and weeled away in celebration in the 2013 Champions League finals. Robben was destructive in that campaign for Bayern and he took it a notch high at Wembley Stadium. He was a late bloomer as he did not score until the high voltage Barcelona game in the semifinals. But he was on point when it mattered and it helped the Bavarians lift their fifth Champions League title and they also completed the elusive treble under the tutelage of former coach Jupp Heynckes.
Bayern were favorites even before the start of the All German Champions League final in 2013. The Bavarians demolished FC Barcelona for an aggregate score of 7-0 while Borussia Dortmund thumped Real Madrid 4-1 in the first leg before losing 2-0 in the second leg.
Robben had a lot riding on his shoulders when he got that opportunity to hand Bayern the win. The chance was similar to the one he missed in the 2010 World Cup finals but this time the Dutchman was calm as he steered it past Wiedenfeller. Scoring that goal somewhat made him believe that he had avenged his past misses. It was definitely the biggest moment from his illustrious career.