sport news Arjen Robben will be remembered as one of Europe's great wingers after retiring ...

sport news Arjen Robben will be remembered as one of Europe's great wingers after retiring ...
sport news Arjen Robben will be remembered as one of Europe's great wingers after retiring ...

Arjen Robben announced his retirement for the second time this week after struggling with injuries having re-joined boyhood club Groningen.

The 37-year-old originally hung up his boots in 2019 after leaving Bayern Munich only to return to the game in June 2020 for a 12-month period with the Eredivisie side.

But the former Holland winger made his name with Chelsea, Real Madrid and most famously with Bundesliga giants Bayern, winning a colossal 28 trophies in his career. 

However, Robben often suffered with serious knee injuries and it certainly left some wondering what might have been despite the obvious ability and talent he demonstrated when he was terrorising defences around Europe.

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the peaks of troughs in the career of one of the most deadly left-footers Europe has ever produced.

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Arjen Robben has retired from the game for a second time after an injury-hit season with Groningen

Arjen Robben has retired from the game for a second time after an injury-hit season with Groningen 

Robeen retired again this week

Robben spent a decade at Bayern

Robben enjoyed the majority of his success at Bayern Munich where he terrorised defences

Robben made incredible strides well before he was picked up by any of the elite European clubs he would go on to represent.

Having been named player of the season in 2000-01 - his first campaign as a member of Groningen's first-team squad - PSV Eindhoven made their move a year later having scored 12 goals in 52 games.

There he would link up with and form an excellent attacking partnership with Mateja Kezman, with Robben providing the Serbian with a constant supply of chances.

The duo became known by the ephithet 'Batman and Robben', a pun on Batman and Robin and the theme tune from that show would often play when Kezman scored on home soil.

Robben had impressed for Groningen and PSV before starring for Holland at Euro 2004

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Robben had impressed for Groningen and PSV before starring for Holland at Euro 2004

But after spending two seasons with the Dutch giants and winning one Eredivisie title, the winger would draw the gaze of Europe's elite after a stunning Euro 2004 campaign.

Robben – then just 20 – was part of a vibrant Netherlands set-up and starred in a number of wonderful performances, most notably their group-stage clash with Czech Republic.

His side would go on to lose the game 3-2, but only after he had been substituted having set up the Netherlands' opening two goals from Wilfred Bouma and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The winger buried a decisive spot kick during the Netherlands' quarter-final penalty shootout victory over Sweden, and although their run ended against Portugal in the semi-finals, the Premier League appeared to be his most likely next destination.

He and Mateja Kezman earned the nickname 'Batman and Robben' at PSV and would link up again at Chelsea

He and Mateja Kezman earned the nickname 'Batman and Robben' at PSV and would link up again at Chelsea

Reported negotiations between PSV and Manchester United would rumble on throughout the summer but his next home would in fact be Chelsea.

Former Red Devils centre-back Rio Ferdinand claimed last year the Dutchman turned down a move to Old Trafford in part because of the 'smell' of the Carrington training ground. 

But the more substantial reason behind his failure to play under Sir Alex Ferguson was that, in his own words, United never offered him a deal.

'I had a very good conversation with him [Ferguson] over dinner in Manchester and we spoke about football and life,' Robben told FourFourTwo magazine in 2018.

'I also went and had a good look around the training ground and everything was good, but after I went back to PSV nothing happened. There was no real contact and the deal didn't happen.

Robben won the Premier League, League Cup, FA Cup and Community Shield at the Blues

Robben won the Premier League, League Cup, FA Cup and Community Shield at the Blues

'PSV were also negotiating with Chelsea at that time, so maybe they offered PSV more money? I don't really know. I spoke to Chelsea and I liked their plans.

'We had one meeting and everything was done pretty quickly. Had Manchester United offered me a deal straight after I met them, I would have signed there, but it didn't happen and I've got no regrets.'

As he mentioned, he did not rue his decision to move to Stamford Bridge, even though he may have slightly questioned it when Claudio Ranieri departed shortly after the Italian had signed him. 

Those doubts could have increased when he was injured in a pre-season friendly by Roma's Olivier Dacourt on a tour of the US, and the Blues' hopes of him combining with Kezman - who had joined him in west London - from the off were dashed.

But comments that were made about his body then were what angered him the most.

'At the time, you hear people say you are made from glass,' he told Sportsmail back in 2015. 'I was angry because I felt like I was always having to defend myself. I know now something was wrong with my body.'

Yet those three months out of action did little harm to his chances of succeeding at Chelsea though, as he shone on his return under Ranieri's successor Jose Mourinho in November to win the Premier League Player of the Month award.

He was a key part of Jose Mourinho's side that won back-to-back Premier League titles

He was a key part of Jose Mourinho's side that won back-to-back Premier League titles

Another three months down the line though and the praise of Robben had turned to extreme concern after he suffered a damaged foot against Blackburn in February, causing him to miss the League Cup final win against Liverpool and their run to the semi-finals of the Champions League. 

But collective success did come at the end of the season with the Blues' first Premier League title in May 2005, but the Dutchman was pipped to the PFA Young Player of the Year by Wayne Rooney at United.

A second straight title followed for the Blues in 2005-06, with Robben contributing six goals in 28 games, and his ceiling consequently appeared to be increasing by the game. But as his own misfortune would have it, injuries played another devastating role.

After coming back from international duty in March 2007, Robben decided to have knee surgery which ruled him out for much of the remainder of the season, much to the annoyance of Mourinho.

The Dutchman would only play two more games for the Blues - his last the 2007 FA Cup final win against United - and having suffered another injury blow in January of that year, concerns were really beginning to mount as to whether Robben would ever experience an injury-free period in England.

Despite suffering injuries at Chelsea, Robben would move on and join Real Madrid in 2007

Despite suffering injuries at Chelsea, Robben would move on and join Real Madrid in 2007

But he was moved out two years later following the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka

But he was moved out two years later following the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka

LaLiga giants Real Madrid - and then president Ramon Calderon - however had not been dissuaded and signed the left-footed maestro for a fee of around £24million in 2007.

But unlike his stint in west London, his spell in Spanish

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