The Dutchman Arjen Robben has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.
The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich winger who made 606 appearances and scored 210 goals in his19-year playing career announced: ‘I have decided to put an end to my career as a professional football player.
‘It is without doubt the most difficult decision I have had to make in my career… a decision in which “heart” and “mind” collided.
The 35-year-old Robben, who was thought to be looking for a new club after playing his last game for Bayern in May, said on Thursday in a statement.
‘The love for the game gives you the conviction that you can still handle the whole world, as opposed to the reality that not everything works the way you want and you are no longer the 16-year-old boy who had no idea what an injury meant.
‘At the moment I am fit and healthy and as a fan of many other sports I want to keep it that way for the future. So I will definitely stop, but it is good that way.’
Robben’s 19-year career began at Groningen way back in 2000. He came through the academy there before moving to PSV Eindhoven 2002, where he won the Eredivisie.
That was his first of 28 trophies. At the age of 21, the winger moved to Chelsea and found plenty of success in London.
He played at Stamford Bridge for just three seasons but was a real fan favourite, winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup.
Robben, who joined Bayern in 2009 from Real Madrid, played 309 competitive games for the Bavarian powerhouse, contributing 144 goals and setting up 81 more.
His crowning moment came in 2013, when he helped Bayern win the treble with the winning goal in the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund.
Robben helped Bayern to eight Bundesliga wins and five German Cup titles.
Robben also won a league title in 2008 with Madrid in Spain. He helped previous club Chelsea to league titles in 2005 and 2006, and PSV Eindhoven to the Eredivisie title in 2003.
Robben helped the Netherlands reach the 2010 World Cup final, where it lost to Spain.
He made 96 appearances for the Dutch team before his international retirement in 2017.
In 2007 the Dutchman joined Madrid and won La Liga at the end of his first campaign. His spell at the Bernabeu was also short and he left after just two years.
It’s a decision he certainly won’t regret, because Robben joined Bayern, playing in Germany for 10 seasons.