FC Bayern's Arjen Robben has every reason to have a smile on his face these days
FC Bayern's Arjen Robben has every reason to have a smile on his face these days

Robben: 'My biggest steps were with Bayern'

Munich – Many people are saying that FC Bayern's is in the form of his life, so what better way to discover if that is true than by talking to the Dutch destroyer himself.

bundesliga.com did just that, discussing his form, the after-effects of the FIFA World Cup and his exemplary role to the younger players at the club in an exclusive in-depth interview with the 30-year-old.

bundesliga.com: Are we wrong or have we witnessed a much more relaxed Arjen Robben in recent weeks and months compared to before?

Arjen Robben:(smiles) It's possible that I look that way. All I can say is that I'm feeling really good. You can see that out on the field too. My physical condition is very important and to be able to get into a rhythm without any major injury for several months has boosted me.

bundesliga.com: Do you feel you're at the zenith of your career?

Robben: I've certainly reached a high level. I've not had any major injuries for two and a half years now and that makes things so much easier. I feel great respect and faith in my performances. But that doesn't in any way mean I'm reaching the end of my journey. I do think, though, that after the many big strides I've taken here at Bayern, the steps are now maybe becoming a little shorter.

bundesliga.com: Today, the world star Arjen Robben is not only in sensational form he has also become a leader and a father figure…

Robben: I wouldn't call myself a leader, and I'm a father when I'm back home with my family. I'm delighted to be able to pass things on to the younger players and to be important to the team. Maybe you do slip into new roles when you are older and more settled, but it's not something I am doing intentionally, it just happens.

bundesliga.com: You've played for many big clubs in different countries. How do you see the Bundesliga compared to other leagues in Europe?

Robben: The Bundesliga has nothing to be envious about and it's certainly one of the strongest leagues in the world. The overall product is perfect for the fans – the stadiums are top and it's exciting. It's certainly overtaken Italy. The leagues in England and Spain are on a par with the Bundesliga, but overall the development of the German game is spectacular.

bundesliga.com:Winning the UEFA Champions League final, in which you scored the winner in 2013, appears to have given your career a boost…

Robben: It was certainly one of the reasons for my good form. I wouldn't say that a weight was lifted particularly, but it was something like that. When Pep Guardiola arrived at Bayern, he told me: 'You've already proven what you can do, just don't forget to enjoy yourself now; think about your self-confidence'.

bundesliga.com: Is the Arjen Robben who arrived in Munich five years ago in any way comparable to the one from today?

Robben: I've developed and certainly taken the biggest steps in my career at Bayern. There were also steps at Real [Madrid] and Chelsea, but the biggest ones were taken here.

bundesliga.com: There were also difficult times in Munich…

Robben: It just fits in with my career that I missed a penalty in the 2012 UEFA Champions League final and we went on to lose to Chelsea before I then scored the winner a year later against Dortmund. Then there was the UEFA European Championship which didn't go that well, but in the end I always believed in myself and fought my way through.

bundesliga.com: Is the current Bayern squad the strongest team you've ever played in?

Robben: Comparisons like those are always very difficult, but maybe you can say that. What's important this season is that we did not have many players leaving and we can rely on a team which has already gelled. We don't have to get used to a new coach either because we know Pep Guardiola. We just have to wait until all of us have reached our best again after the FIFA World Cup and that's not particularly easy at the start of the season. But now we've only got FC Bayern to think about, and we're all very motivated.

bundesliga.com: What can be expected of Bayern this season?

Robben: That we will be more flexible tactically. That's important to Pep Guardiola. He's always good for a tactical surprise. It shows that he lives football 24 hours a day. I think you could call him at 3am and talk tactics with him (smiles), and he'd even be pleased to take the call. Being flexible tactically is going to be a major part of our game.

Interview by Oliver Trust