Arjen Robben is back playing football, his childhood sweetheart FC Groningen. A fairy tale for the club, the supporters and league. ‘Why? In a word: club love.
They are both 36 years old and share a lot of history. It was Wesley Sneijder who gave the ball to Arjen Robben the way to the World seemed to offer in the World Cup final of 2010. And when the toe of Casillas. For years blindly at Orange they found each other. Last year they both retired. But this weekend could be no greater contrast.
In Doornse castle Sneijder Saturday trudged several dozen kilos heavier by camera crews to promote his biography. He raved about it the fanaticism of Robben, “with his head grimly,” with “that super-tight undershirt over his wiry body. “A lump of energy. Always the best want to be, “said Sneijder who tells in his book Always have partied too much. With drink and women.
Then Robben. A day after Sneijder show he steps inside the Groningen Euroborg. Not an ounce of fat. A gentleman in a fancy jacket. Always lived for his profession as a monk. Next to him is Mark-Jan Fledderus, happy CEO of FC Groningen. “This is an unprecedented day. Arjen has been around champion, won the Champions League. And when you do, it says a lot about the fans Arjen Robben, but perhaps even more about him as a person. ”
After wandering along PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid eleven seasons Bayern Munich returns the 96-time international returned to the club where he kid from Bedum at the age of 12 entered the academy and at the age of 16 in the Oosterpark stadium based debut against Feyenoord. Saturday was his return to the world. He wants to FC Groningen, which is experiencing financial hard times, lend a helping hand. Fans had sat in tears and ‘goose bumps to the neck, “as John Young of the supporters club said. In half a day extra 1600 season tickets were sold. Sponsors are once again in line for a skybox. Worldwide, there are marketing opportunities. The video of his return had over 75 million views.
Robben himself was sat with his family from Munich to Groningen drove for a family barbeque. Bernardien his wife, a childhood sweetheart, played a crucial role in his comeback. Through its had the club FC Groningen on May 21, out to Robben made an appointment in Munich. During a lunch with sushi Fledderus showed a video compilation of images from Robben and Michael Jordan, from the documentary “The Lance Dance ‘. It struck a chord with Robben. The family anyway was planning to return to the homeland where the new house is almost finished now. He may soon back on the bike for the club, just like before.
“My farewell, a year ago, it was a difficult decision. It was more or less forced. There were some physical problem at the root. We wanted to live a year in Munich, to get used to the idea more to be a footballer. I have done many other things for half a year, as good skiing, “he told the Euroborg. “In the winter it went itch again. It still remains a nice game. I was training for a marathon, but which is not go through corona. The corona crisis, I started thinking. I had always kept in touch with FC Groningen. I wondered: what can I do? I felt fit. In a year without football, the aches and pains have left. I came to the conclusion that I can get the most value for the club on the pitch. In late May, I made the decision. Why? In one word: love club. We come back home. ”
It is a tale of Groningen, but also a boost for the Dutch football in uncertain times. Who does not rejoice at new dribbles Robben? There is also another signal from. Robben can financially afford of course, but he can not be guided by money, but only by love for the ball and a club. That seemed to become rare values in the world of football. His salary? “We were fast,” he smiled.
It is also risky, such comeback. How long he stays fit? Robben was named the Man of Glass, because he proved to be as often physically fragile. And not always the return of a prodigal son leads to success. “Of course, it may fail. Yeah so? I want to try this. If it fails, physically or playing football, people will say he should not have done it. Why not? There’s already a pretty bow around my career. Who keeps me from now? Perhaps it is about past month. Maybe in two years, “Robben said that if he later played in the Galgenwaard against FC Utrecht, will surely be welcomed by Wesley Sneijder from his skybox.
The player who just a year ago announced his career to end, was not only the largest Dutch previous generation, but also the wisest, Henk writes Hoijtink.