By 90Min
July 07, 2019

Dutch winger Arjen Robben bade farewell to the beautiful game after a scintillating 19-year career at the top level, having played for some of the biggest clubs in the world and establishing himself as one of the greatest wingers of his generation.

Having started as a fresh-faced teenager at Dutch side FC Groningen, he moved to PSV Eindhoven shortly after and made a huge impression in the Eredivisie, which caught the eyes of then-Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri.

After making the step up to the Premier League in 2004, Robben moved to Spanish giants Real Madrid in the summer of 2007 but the move did not work out for him as the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema were brought in to usher in the second coming of the Galácticos.

Robben thereafter moved to Bavaria to play for Bayern Munich which is where he rejuvenated his career and became the world-class player that everyone knows he is.

With the announcement of his retirement, we take a look at five of the greatest moments of the flying Dutchman's career.


Stunner Against Manchester United

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This is a goal that will stand the test of time. In the 2010 quarter-finals of the Champions League, Bayern faced Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United. After Bayern won the first leg 2-1 at the Allianz Arena, a game that Robben did not feature in, United needed to score at least two goals to move on. By the 41st minute in the second leg, United were up by three, but a goal from Ivica Olić before half time left the score at 3-1.


Bayern were unable to break down United's defence as they needed a goal to advance to the semi-finals. Die Roten won a corner in the 74th minute and Franck Ribery stepped up to deliver it. He put in a brilliant ball to the unmarked Robben, who was standing at the edge of the box, and the Dutchman hit the ball beautifully on the volley past countryman Edwin van der Sar. 


The goal sent Bayern through to the semi-finals and they managed to make it to the Champions League final where they lost to Jose Mourinho's treble-winning Inter side. To rub salt in United's wounds, Robben later revealed that he was very close to joining the Red Devils in 2004 but ultimately landed in London with Chelsea.


His Performance Against St Pauli

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With Dortmund already sealing the Bundesliga title and St Pauli already relegated, this was a meaningless game for the Bavarians. Despite this, they put on an attacking masterclass as Robben, Ribery and Mario Gomez all put in stellar performances in May 2011. 


Ribery and Gomez contributed to three and four goals respectively but both were not able to manage the sensational tally of two goals and three assists by Robben. The brilliant winger is known for his goalscoring ability but displayed a complete performance and showcased his underrated playmaking skill.


His assists were varied with one coming from a well-delivered corner and another coming from a perfect through-ball for Gomez. Robben also scored a rare header - a type of goal he has only scored ten other times. The only thing missing from his performance was his trademark goal after cutting in from the right wing.


Demolition of Barcelona

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Robben was a crucial part of one of Bayern's greatest ever Champions League performances against Barcelona in the 2013 semi-finals. Munich had had tough fixtures before meeting Barcelona in the semis, playing Arsenal and Juventus in the knockout stages. After a difficult away win against the Gunners, Bayern dispatched the Old Lady with ease and came to the semi-finals in smoking hot form, scoring 16 goals in three games before facing Barca.

Despite this form, Bayern were the slight underdogs but managed to erase any doubt as they trounced Barca 4-0 in the Allianz Arena, with Robben scoring a somewhat controversial third goal to put the tie out of reach for the Catalans. This was Robben's first goal in the Champions League campaign but he stepped up in a big game once again.

In the second leg, Bayern continued where they left off as the Dutch winger opened the scoring with his trademark finish in a shock 3-0 win at the Camp Nou which meant the Bavarians beat the Blaugrana 7-0 on aggregate - a scoreline that shocked the world as Bayern went on to complete a historic treble.


World Cup 2010

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/GettyImages

The now-iconic picture, where former Real Madrid teammate Iker Casillas saved Robben's sitter in the final, was probably the most enduring memory of the Dutch side in the 2010 World Cup. However, Robben's performances leading up to that final were fantastic and helped establish him as one of the best players in the world.

The quality he produced went somewhat under the radar as his attacking counterpart Wesley Sneijder stole the headlines. Despite this, Robben contributed a goal in every game apart from the final, which was extremely crucial as every game Robben played in the 2010 World Cup was decided by a single goal. His goal in the semi-finals against Uruguay ultimately sent the Netherlands into the final.

The 35-year-old won 33 trophies in his career and managed to win a trophy for every club he played for. He also managed to get 96 caps for the Dutch national team but could only bring the World Cup silver medal home with that late and bitter miss costing him a title that he deserved.


2013 Champions League Final

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In the 2012 Champions League final, Robben had a chance to win the game for Bayern against his former club Chelsea. he stepped up to convert a penalty in extra-time but his strike was saved by Petr Cech and he couldn't gather the rebound. Bayern went on to lose the final on penalties in their own stadium, with manager Jupp Heynckes choosing not to entrust Robben with any further penalty.

 

The next season, Bayern came to avenge their defeat from 2012 at Wembley against domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund. Having already won the Bundesliga and secured their place in the DFB Pokal final, it was their chance to win the treble. Robben had also missed a crucial penalty against Dortmund in 2012 which virtually handed Dortmund the title so he had a lot riding on this match.


With the score being level at 1-1, Ribery laid on a superb chance for Robben in the last minute of the game which the Dutchman managed to steer past Roman Weidenfeller to win the game and avenge his past misses. Bayern went on to win the treble and Robben would go down as one of Bayern's greatest ever players. 

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