Legendary winger Arjen Robben retires

Joe Prince-Wright

We will no longer see Arjen Robben cut inside and curl home an unstoppable shot into the far top corner with his wand of a left foot.

It was announced on Thursday that the Dutch winger, 35, has retired from the game with immediate effect.

Robben’s glittering career saw him win league titles in Holland, England, Spain and Germany, as he also scored the winning goal in the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League final and reached the 2010 World Cup final with the Netherlands.

He spent the last 10 seasons at Bayern Munich, winning eight Bundesliga titles as well as the UCL trophy with the Bavarian giants. Robben scored in his final home game for Bayern during an emotional farewell alongside fellow wing-wizard Franck Ribery, who also left Bayern on the final day of the 2018-19 Bundesliga season.

In a statement confirming his retirement, Robben had this to say, as serious injuries have taken their toll on his body over the years.

“I have decided to put an end to my career as a professional football player. It is without doubt the most difficult decision I have had to make in my career. A decision in which heart and mind collided. The love for the game gives you the conviction that you can still handle the whole world, as opposed to the reality that not everything works the way you want and you are no longer the 16-year-old boy who had no idea what an injury meant. At the moment I am fit and healthy and as a fan of many other sports I want to keep it that way for the future. So I will definitely stop, but it is good that way.”

The Dutch national team put it best: “Congratulations on your fantastic career, Arjen!”

That it was. Robben was a pure winger and he was at his best when cutting inside and either crossing for a forward or curling home a perfectly placed shot.

He could have extended his career to somewhere like Major League Soccer or the Chinese Super League, but in the end father time has caught up with him.

Now that all is said and done, Robben will go down as one of the greatest natural wingers in the history of the game.