As a wise man once said, there are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Arjen Robben‘s left foot. After he added a final pair of goals to his tally for the Netherlands before exiting the international stage, bundesliga.com takes a look at his memorable career made sweetest in Munich.
Since joining Bayern Munich from Real Madrid in summer 2009, Robben has consistently had Bundesliga defenders suffering at the hands of…well, his feet! He has weighed in with a stunning 92 goals and 58 assists in 174 Bundesliga outings, winning six league titles along the way, including in each the last five seasons.
Thoroughbred talent and an unfaltering zeal for the game have contributed to the freshly-retired former Netherlands international’s march to the top and kept him there, but it his signature move – an angled run in from the right-hand side coupled with a curled left-footed finish – that has cemented his reputation as one of the most feared wide men of all time.
Watch: Arjen Robben, eight years, eight moments
“You have to do it at exactly the right time,” Robben said of his trademark that provokes a forbidding sense of deja vu in opponents as soon as he darts inside from the flank. “It’s still a surprise because I often do something different – even though people say ‘It’s always the same thing from Robben’. Then I give the ball to [Philipp] Lahm, he crosses and [Robert] Lewandowski scores. A lot of it is intuition.”
Aptly enough, it was former Bayern head coach Louis van Gaal’s instinctive reassignment of Robben from his favoured position on the left-hand side of midfield to the opposing flank that breathed new life into a career that had stalled during a one-season stint in Madrid. With right-footed counterpart Franck Ribery drifting in from the left touchline, the inverted winger was back and ready to turn opposing full-backs inside out.
Robben scored 16 goals in 2009/10 – his second highest return in a Bayern shirt after his 17-strike glut of 2014/15. Last season was a vintage campaign too: the 33-year-old found the net 13 times in 26 Bundesliga assignments, but he also served up 12 assists. Never before had he been so generous a provider of goals.
Yes, he has had his fair share of hamstring troubles, but how many midfielders can claim to have made as many top-flight appearances and had a hand in a league goal in almost every single outing? Imagine the kind of numbers the Bedum native might have posted had he remained injury-free.
Ifs and buts to one side, Robben has been an impeccable servant to the club. Bayern’s January decision to hand their evergreen Oranje star a one-year contract extension through to 30 June 2018 only underscores his value, and suggests the record Bundesliga champions believe there is still yet more to come.