Netherlands football great Arjen Robben announced his retirement from his youth club FC Groningen. This marks the end of an illustrious career that has lasted for over two decades. Deemed as one of the best wingers of his era, Robben rejoined FC Groningen in 2020 following impressive stints with Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
“I’ve decided to stop with my active football career. It was a difficult choice,” said the 37-year-old.
“Everybody around FC Groningen hoped and wished that Robben would continue for another season, he has decided to stop after much deliberation,” the club said in a statement.
Having made his debut for FC Groningen in 2000-01, Robben was transferred to PSV in 2002-03. His first overseas transfer came in 2005-06 when he was moved to Chelsea. He played an important role in Chelsea’s English Premier League win in 2005-06.
Robben was then moved to Real Madrid in 2007 for a reported fee of 35 million euros. He then joined Bayern Munich in 2009 and became an integral part of the club. The Dutch last played for Bayern in May 2019, scoring 99 goals in 201 Bundesliga matches. Robben was set to retire in 2019 but stayed back to play for FC Groningen.
Robben played a major role in taking Netherlands to the final of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and third-place finish in 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“Looking back on the past season, I have to come to the honest conclusion that the number of match minutes was disappointing,” Robben said Thursday.
“The football heart wants to continue…, but the decision to quit is fair and realistic,” Robben said.