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Arjen Robben retires from professional football

FC Bayern Munich and Netherlands legend Arjen Robben after the Audi Football Summit in New Delhi on January 10, 2012. (© CPD Football)
FC Bayern Munich and Netherlands legend Arjen Robben after the Audi Football Summit in New Delhi on January 10, 2012. © CPD Football

Iconic Dutch winger Arjen Robben has announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday.

The former Netherlands international and FC Bayern Munich star has decided to end his playing career at the age of 35 after a glittering career.

“As everybody knows, I took some time after my last match for Bayern Munich to make up my mind for the future. And now I have decided to end my career as a professional player,” Robben said in a statement. “This has been without a doubt the hardest decision I had to make in my career, a decision in which ‘heart’ and ‘head’ bumped into each other.”

“The love for the game and the conviction that you can still take over the world, versus the reality that it doesn’t always go like you want it to and that you’re no longer a 16-year-old boy, who doesn’t know what it’s like to be injured.”

“At the moment I’m fit and healthy and, as a fan of many other sports, I’d like to keep it that way. My quitting is permanent, but it’s all right this way.”

“In December 2000 my adventure started as a player with Groningen,” Robben’s statement continued. “The career that followed after that is something I only could have dreamt back then. Groningen, PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid and eventually Bayern Munich, and last but not least, my time with the Dutch national team.”

“It might be a cliche, but there really is no better thing than playing for your own country. In the end I decided to quit in 2017 after 96 international caps.”

“I got to play six big tournaments and was the captain during my last years with the team. Altogether it’s an unforgettable time that I’ll always cherish.”

“It is too early to look back into the details of my career, but for now it’s pride and thankfulness which dominates my feelings. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this from the bottom of my heart.”

“My parents, my sister, family, friends, my personal coaching team, all of the clubs, team members, coaches, journalists and fans. Everyone who supported me for all those years and made me into the player and the person I am today.”

“I have lived 19 years for my passion and tried to make the most of it. This asks a certain mentality and it for sure took a lot of energy, especially when things don’t go as you want them to be and when you have to fight back after difficult moments. Top athletes are being known for their selfish attitude and I have definitely not been an exclusion to that.”

“Therefore, I’d like to thank my family for their unconditional support, understanding and love. It’s time for a new chapter and I’m looking forward to spending more time together with my wife and kids and to enjoy together from all the good things that still have to come for us.”

Robben won twelve league titles – eight with Bayern, including last season, two at Chelsea and one each at PSV Eindhoven and Real Madrid – and was part of the Netherlands team that lost to Spain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final in Johannesburg.