Sunday, August 18, 2019 | ePaper

Bayern icon Robben dreaming of fairytale farewell

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Departing Dutch star Arjen Robben has said that he is still undecided about what to do when he leaves Bayern Munich, and admitted that he may still retire from football altogether.
The 35-year-old winger is set to leave Munich after 10 years at the end of the season, and has been linked with clubs as diverse as Inter Milan and his hometown club Groningen.
At a press conference in Munich on Tuesday, Robben said that he still didn't know what life after Bayern held for him.
"I am late making my decision because of my injury. I wanted to get back on the pitch first," said Robben, who had been sidelined since November before returning to action against Hanover two weeks ago.
"My wife would have preferred it otherwise, to be honest," he said.
"It is not an easy decision to make. If you decide that you are going to keep playing, you have to find a place where everything is just right, not just in terms of football but also for my family."
Asked whether he might stop playing altogether, Robben said it was possible.
"It is an option, but I don't know whether it will happen," he said.
He said that were he to play against Bayern in the future, he would have no problem celebrating against his old club.
"Everyone is different, but with all due respect I think it is a bit silly when players don't celebrate against their former clubs. Football is football," he said.
The Dutchman won the Champions League with Bayern in 2013, and now hopes to win an eighth Bundesliga title in his last home game for Bayern this weekend.
Bayern can wrap up a seventh successive league title if they beat Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, and Robben said that he had "goosebumps" thinking about the game.
"To be crowned champions on Saturday, after 10 years, in front of 70,000 fans at a full Allianz Arena. There is nothing better."
"It will be a very special game, I have played it out three times in my head already.
"Maybe I can play for 90 minutes and score two goals," said the Dutchman, whose Bundesliga tally currently stands at 98.
Robben said that he had not expected to become a club legend when he joined Bayern from Real Madrid in 2009.
"It was a difficult step for me. My aim was to win the Champions League, and it didn't look very likely at Bayern then," he said.
Robben scored an 89th minute winner for Bayern in the 2013 Champions League Final, a year after missing a crucial penalty in their painful final defeat to Chelsea a year earlier.
Booed by some Bayern fans after that defeat, Robben said his relationship to the supporters is now strong.
"For me, the appreciation of the fans, not just as a footballer but also as a person, means almost more than winning titles," he said.
Robben's Brazilian team-mate Rafinha also gave his farewell press conference on Tuesday, after the club confirmed on Saturday that he would leave after eight years in Munich.
The 33-year-old full-back broke down in tears as he said goodbye.
"I got an SMS from my mum just after training and she told me to say thank you to my team-mates, to everyone at the club," he said.
"The friendship I have with people here is the most important thing."

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