- 5'10" (1.80m)
- 163 lbs (74 kg)
- January 23, 1984
Whenever there is drama, you can almost guarantee that Arjen Robben is never too far away. Whether it be a missed penalty or the winning goal in the Champions League final, the Dutch winger has experienced both the highs and the lows associated with the beautiful game. While he is as likely to thrill as he is to frustrate, there can be little doubt that Robben is one of the finest wingers of his generation.
The fleet-footed wideman spent the early part of his career with Groningen and PSV Eindhoven but it was not until he signed for Premier League side Chelsea for 12 million pounds in the summer of 2004 that he truly hit the European stage. After a delayed debut at Stamford Bridge due to a broken metatarsal, Robben then burst into the English game to damaging effect with performances full of speed and skill. Sadly for Robben that first season in London was probably his best as a series of injuries limited his involvement in a side which would win two Premier League titles.
He left Chelsea in 2007 to join Real Madrid in a 24-million-pound deal. The Dutchman's first season in La Liga was spectacular, with the Spanish press locked in debate over whether Robben or Barcelona adversary Lionel Messi was the best player in the league as Real Madrid won the Primera Liga title ahead of the Catalans.
However, Robben became one of the surprise casualties of Florentino Perez's new galacticos era at the Bernabeu in the summer of 2009. Though the left-winger did not want to leave the club he had no choice and moved to Bundesliga outfit Bayern Munich, where he gained a new lease of life, leading the side to the Bundesliga title in his first season, contributing 16 goals. Robben also scored in the DFB-Pokal final as Bayern beat Werder Bremen 4-0 and was duly named the 2010 Football of the Year in Germany. However, there was to be no treble -- at least not this time around -- as the Bavarians were defeated by Inter in the Champions League final.
The Dutch winger's next two seasons were agonisingly hampered by injury and his misery was compounded in the 2012 Champions League final against former club Chelsea when he missed a spot kick in extra time, before Chelsea went on to lift the trophy in a penalty shootout. Yet Robben would earn his redemption just one year later as he scored the winning goal in the 2013 Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund to give the Bavarians their first European Cup triumph in 12 years and an unprecedented treble.
Robben always seems to play a leading role in the big matches and he again broke Dortmund hearts, this time in the 2013-14 DFB-Pokal final, to add to his third Bundesliga title in five years in Bavaria. With over 70 international caps to his name, Robben remains one of the first names on the Netherlands teamsheet and he was an inspirational member of the Oranje team that navigated their way to the 2010 World Cup final.
The 30-year-old scored in the round of 16 encounter with Slovakia and the semifinal against Uruguay but could not find the net in the final, missing two gilt-edged chances that could have sealed the Netherlands' first World Cup triumph. The 2014 World Cup could prove to be Robben's last and will provide him with the ideal opportunity to banish those demons of four years ago.
The year 2013 was Robben's most prolific to date for the national side and Oranje eyes will be firmly focused upon their bald-headed winger as they seek to overcome the likes of Spain, Chile and Australia in Group B and secure their place in the knockout stages.
Strengths: Able to take on and beat defenders at the drop of a hat, Robben's ability to get to the byline and deliver in accurate crosses or cut inside a bend a shot into the far corner instils fear into any defence.
Weaknesses: For a player with such a direct and dangerous style, he perhaps does not control games as much as he should. His injury record is not good and he can sometimes be seen as too predictable.
Career high: Robben earned Bayern their fifth European Cup triumph by scoring an 89th-minute winner and earning the Man of the Match award against Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 final.
Career low: Missing Chelsea's run to the semifinals of the Champions League in 2004-05 due to injury.
Style: Pacey, quick and creative, Robben is always a threat.
Quotes: "There are so many emotions, especially where we came from last year and such a disappointment... It is a special feeling. You cannot describe it. Everything is going through your mind. It is hard to say but you do not want to be a loser." Robben reflects on scoring the winner in the 2013 Champions League final.
Trivia: Robben is married to childhood sweetheart Bernadien Eillert.
|Netherlands||A - Brazil||Jul 12, 2014||WC||W 0-3||Started||0||0||1||1||3||6||1||0|
|Netherlands||H - Argentina||Jul 9, 2014||WC||L (2) 0-(4) 0||Started||0||0||2||2||2||1||0||0|
|Netherlands||H - Costa Rica||Jul 5, 2014||WC||W (4) 0-(3) 0||Started||0||0||5||5||1||8||0||0|
|Netherlands||H - Mexico||Jun 29, 2014||WC||W 2-1||Started||0||0||1||1||0||5||0||0|
|Netherlands||H - Chile||Jun 23, 2014||WC||W 2-0||Started||0||1||3||2||1||5||0||0|
|Netherlands||A - Australia||Jun 18, 2014||WC||W 2-3||Started||1||0||5||5||2||2||0||0|
|Netherlands||A - Spain||Jun 13, 2014||WC||W 1-5||Started||2||0||3||3||1||1||0||0|