Arjen Robben is just three games away from bringing down the curtain on 10 trophy-laden seasons with Bayern Munich, but after battling his way back from five months out with injury, the flying Dutchman plans to go out with a bang.
bundesliga.com sat down with the wing wizard to get his thoughts on Bayern’s hunt for the domestic double, his legacy at the club, and what skill, if any, he’d like to borrow from fellow departing wingman, Franck Ribery…
bundesliga.com: The Bayern fans showed their appreciation of your time at the club after the Hannover game. How bittersweet is it that your time at Bayern is drawing to a close?
Arjen Robben: “It’s very bittersweet. First of all, that was a very special moment. It was one I’d waited for, because I wanted to get back out on the pitch. The reception from our fans gave me goosebumps, and I’m extremely grateful to them for it. On the other hand, it’s difficult to be leaving, but you always have to try to see the positives. I have had 10 unbelievably nice years here and I want to enjoy the last few games before it is all over.”
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bundesliga.com: It was obvious how much it meant to you when you came on. How did it feel in that moment?
Robben: “I just love to play so you’re happy when you can play after a long time on the sidelines. It’s like being a seven- or eight-year-old again, or a 12- or 13-year-old, you just have fun. I hope I can end on a high, and I think that’s still very possible.”
bundesliga.com: Ten years at a club is almost unheard of in the modern game. How did you achieve it?
Robben: “Simply because everything fit here. Everything was right for me and my family. I felt comfortable at the club from day one, and my family is happy here too. It was just a perfect fit. In football there are always ups and downs, which you need to be able to deal with, but overall it’s been a very successful time and I’m very happy.”
bundesliga.com: It’s not over quite yet. Including the Cup final against RB Leipzig, you still have three games left here. What do you expect from those games?
Robben: “I’m really looking forward to them, and I fought and trained hard to be back. I’ve said it already - and I remain convinced - that I’m not here just to say goodbye and to stand on the pitch waving at the fans. I still want to contribute to the team, and I’m sure I can do that. The injury can’t be an excuse now either, even though you would usually say: five months out, so I’ll have to work my way back slowly. That doesn’t matter at the moment, so I have to be prepared mentally. I’m prepared, and if I’m needed we’ll see what I can do.”
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bundesliga.com: There’s a lot of speculation at the moment about your future as a player. Thinking a step further ahead; will we see coach Arjen Robben at some point?
Robben: “I don’t know. I haven’t concerned myself with that yet. First, we have to get past these final games and then we’ll see what happens after that. I enjoy working with kids and with younger players, having fun and helping them improve. There’s plenty of work to be done in youth football, so we’ll see what happens.”
bundesliga.com: If you could pick one of Franck Ribery’s footballing strengths to add to your own game, what would it be?
Robben: “His right foot for certain, of course (laughs). I think we’re quite similar in some ways and quite different in others. That shows up in the stats, so he has more assists and I have a few more goals.”