Monday, December 5, 2011

Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben ( born 23 January 1984) is a Dutch footballer who plays for the German Bundesliga club Bayern Munich. Though often classified as a forward, he usually plays behind the forwards (inside position) as a winger, and he is also known for his dribbling skills. He is also a part of the Netherlands national team and has appeared at Euro 2004, the 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008 and at the 2010 World Cup.

Robben first came to prominence with Groningen, for whom he was player of the year for the 2000–01 Eredivisie season. Two years later he signed for PSV, where he became the Netherlands' Young Player of the Year and won an Eredivisie title. The following season Robben's signature was pursued by leading English clubs, and after protracted transfer negotiations he joined Chelsea in the 2004 close season.

Robben's Chelsea debut was delayed through injury, but upon returning to fitness he helped Chelsea to consecutive Premier League titles, and was the FA Premier League Player of the Month in November 2005. After a third season in England which was punctuated by injury, Robben moved to Spanish club Real Madrid for €35 million. In August 2009, Robben transferred to Bayern Munich for a fee of around €25 million, scoring two goals on his debut. In his first season in Munich, Bayern won the league title, Robben's fifth league title in eight years, and got to the Champions League Final. After his first season with the Bavarian club, the player was also named Footballer of the Year in Germany.

Early football life
Robben was born in Bedum, a satellite town of Groningen in the north-eastern Netherlands. He took to football from an early age, becoming an adherent of the Coerver Method. Robben's skill in ball control and technical footwork made him a valuable player, and he was quickly signed by regional club FC Groningen. Here, he developed his distinctive style of cutting inside from the right onto his left foot to score some quite spectacular goals.

Club career
Groningen : Groningen placed Robben in their first team for the 1999–2000 season. He scored 3 goals in league play. Manager Jan van Dijk added the winger to the first team before Groningen's November 2000 away game against Twente, but he did not play until 3 December 2000 against Waalwijk, as a substitute for the injured Leonardo dos Santos in the 79th minute. Over the winter, Robben managed to play himself into the starting lineup. In 18 starts for Groningen over the 2000–01 season, he scored two goals. Robben was named player of the year for his first season with the club, and with teammate Jordi Hoogstrate, he demonstrated the strength of the Groningen youth academy. Robben stayed with Groningen and improved steadily during the 2001–02 season, playing in 28 matches and scoring six goals. Robben transferred to PSV for €3.9 million before the 2002–03 season.

PSV : During his first season for PSV, the 2002–03 season, Robben played 33 matches and scored 12 goals. He was named "PSV co-player of the year" along with striker Mateja Kežman, with whom he formed an attacking partnership still fondly referred to by PSV fans as "Batman and Robben". He helped lead PSV to their 17th Dutch title, and won the Talented Player of the Year award. After this good start, PSV could not keep up with rival Ajax and were forced into a fight for second place in the Eredivisie. Robben travelled to London and met with Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferguson's offer came in much too low for PSV's and Robben's liking; PSV chairman Harry van Raaij told Manchester United the most that their €7 million offer would buy them was a shirt with Robben's autograph. Almost immediately, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich offered €18 million (£12.1 million), and PSV accepted. The rest of his season with PSV was disappointing. He injured his hamstring twice and missed several games. By the end of the season, Robben scored five times in 23 Eredivisie matches.

Chelsea : Robben did not make his competitive debut for Chelsea until November 2004, as he was injured in a pre-season friendly match against Roma, breaking a metatarsal bone in his right foot in a challenge from Olivier Dacourt.During this time, he told club doctors that he had noticed an unfamiliar growth on one of his testicles. The medical team quickly did tests to check for testicular cancer, but he was subsequently given the all clear.

Robben proved to be a crucial player for the 2004–05 season; in November 2004, he was awarded the FA Premier League "Player of the Month" award.Robben ended the 2004–05 season with seven goals, his second highest professional total. He was shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of the Year, but was beaten by Wayne Rooney of Manchester United. Robben was badly injured in a league game away to Blackburn Rovers and forced to sit out Chelsea's title run-in and progress to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Back to fitness for 2005–06, Robben was an integral part of the Chelsea left wing. In 28 matches, Robben contributed six goals as Chelsea won a second consecutive Premier League championship, the first back-to-back titles for the west London club.

The 2005–06 season saw Robben involved in an unsporting incident with Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina. Towards the end of a league game between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, which Chelsea won 2–0, Reina shoved his hand in Robben's face after some provocative words from Robben. Robben fell theatrically to the turf, and Reina received a red card for "violent behaviour", as violent conduct is illegal. As a result of the incident Reina commented that Robben "did well enough to win an Oscar" for his theatrics. Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez later joked in a post-match interview that he "would soon be going to hospital to check on Robben's condition". Reina's red card was not rescinded.He was named man of the match on 23 December 2006 against Wigan, a match where he got two assists and the winning goal.

Robben was inflicted with yet another injury in a match against Liverpool on 20 January 2007. Robben made his return in a 3–0 victory against Middlesbrough in February driving in a shot that took a deflection past Mark Schwarzer for an own goal by Abel Xavier. Robben scored a goal in the second round of the UEFA Champions League against Porto, which led to Chelsea winning the tie 3–2 on aggregate. At the end of March 2007, Robben underwent a knee operation after sustaining a knee injury upon returning from international duty that was expected to rule him out for at least four weeks. Spanish club Real Madrid were interested in two of Chelsea's players. Then manager Bernd Schuster is said to have demanded Michael Ballack, while Madrid's former president, Ramón Calderón, was known to favor Robben. Robben said to reporters of Spanish newspaper AS: "I do not know when a deal will be reached. I would like to send a message to the Madrid fans, but I can't until my future is sorted."

Real Madrid eventually secured Robben's services in August 2007.He told Chelsea's official club website: "It was difficult to leave because I had a great time in my three years at Chelsea and I made a lot of friends. There was no time to say goodbye because the deal was closed on the Wednesday at 10 o'clock in the evening and the following morning I had to fly. If I have one day off I would want to come back and say goodbye because to the fans I owe a big thank you because they were always good to me. In my three years I won all the prizes there are to win in England."

Real Madrid : Robben completed his move to Real Madrid on a five-year deal on 22 August 2007, with the transfer fee reported as £24 million(€35 million). He made his debut on 18 September as a substitute for Raúl during a Champions League match against Werder Bremen, which Real Madrid won 2–1. His league debut came on 23 September, this time as a substitute for Royston Drenthe in a 1–1 away draw against Valladolid.[33] On 10 February 2008, Robben scored his first goal, this time at home in a 7–0 victory against Valladolid. Robben proved crucial for many Real Madrid matches, making his famous runs down the left wing, and quickly became a first choice for the left midfield position, making 28 appearances during his debut season and scoring five goals. Real Madrid won the league title with some games to spare, and were already the champions of Spain when they played their arch-rivals FC Barcelona on 7 May 2008. The Barcelona players formed a guard of honor as the Madrid team came onto the pitch at the Santiago Bernabéu, and Robben played an important part in Real Madrid's subsequent 4–1 victory, scoring the champions' second goal.

He retained his key role in the Real Madrid midfield during the 2008–09 season, playing 35 times and scoring eight goals. Although the Dutchman was one of the Spanish side's most important players in the pre-season games of the 2009–10 season, having scored three goals and help set up another four, he was among the players whose place in the first team became threatened following the arrival of Florentino Pérez and the signings of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká. Real Madrid accepted a bid of around €25 million for Robben from Bayern Munich. Robben claimed he was "forced" to leave Real Madrid, saying that he "didn't want to go, but the club wanted to sell him".

Bayern Munich : On 28 August 2009, Robben moved to Bayern Munich for around €25 million. He was given the number 10 shirt, last worn by his fellow Dutchman, Roy Makaay. His debut came the day after. He came on as a half-time substitute against Wolfsburg, scored two goals, and helped his team beat last season's champions in Bayern's first win of the season. On 9 March 2010, Robben scored the deciding goal in Bayern's 2–3 defeat (4–4 on aggregate over two legs) against Fiorentina, taking them through to the quarter finals of the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League on away goals.

On 7 April 2010, Robben sent Bayern Munich into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League with a stunning volley against Manchester United from the edge of the area into the corner of the net. The game ended 3–2 to United (4–4 on aggregate) with Bayern advancing again due to away goals.

On 17 April 2010, he scored his first hat-trick in the Bundesliga against Hannover 96 in the Allianz Arena. The game ended 7–0 to the Bavarians. On 8 May 2010, he won his first Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich after scoring two goals in their 3–1 victory over Hertha BSC Berlin, finishing as Bayern's top scorer in the process.

A week later, Bayern Munich played in the DFB-Pokal Final against the previous champions of the tournament, Werder Bremen, in Berlin's Olympiastadion. Bayern Munich won the game by 4–0; Arjen Robben scored the first of those four goals from a penalty kick. Robben thus helped the Bavarians achieve their fifteenth DFB Pokal title. On 25 May 2010, Robben was named Footballer of the Year in Germany for the year 2010. He won the election by attaining a record 72.1% of the vote and was the first Dutch person to win this election.

The 2010–11 season started badly for Robben, after medical tests confirmed that his hamstring had not properly healed and that he would be out for two months. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated that "Of course, Bayern Munich are very angry" with the Dutch FA, and would be seeking compensation from them, continuing "Once again we must pay the bill as a club after a player is seriously injured playing for a national team." On 15 January 2011, he returned to first team action, coming on as a substitute in the 1–1 away draw with VfL Wolfsburg.

Robben was nominated for the "UEFA Champions League Best Midfielder", but this went to his international compatriot Wesley Sneijder. He has also been nominated for the prestigious Ballon d'Or award, and the FIFA Puskás Award, which goes to the best goal of the year, and he has also been nominated for FIFA’s "FIFPro World XI 2010" squad, thanks to his fantastic season with Bayern Munich.

Personal life
Robben married his girlfriend Bernadien Eillert on 9 June 2007 in Groningen. The two met while in high school in the city, at the Kamerlingh Onnes, and have a son, Luka born in 2008 and a daughter, Lynn born in 2010. Robben's father, Hans, acts as his agent.

The circumstances of Arjen and Bernadien's first meeting have been reported by his former youth coach, Barend Beltman. 'Arjen was driven and determined at a young age. He was always on time, never late. But one Friday afternoon he showed up 15 minutes past the start of practice. I asked him what was going on. "We were at the market square, having fun", he said. There were some girls with him and his friends, so I asked, "Was she worth it?" "Yes, trainer, she was", he told me. I told him to get his gear and join the training session. At his wedding, I heard the woman he met that day was now his wife and mother of his children. Bernadien is her name.'

Arjen speaks fluent Dutch, German, English and Spanish.

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