Arjen Robben

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Legendary winger Arjen Robben retires

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We will no longer see Arjen Robben cut inside and curl home an unstoppable shot into the far top corner with his wand of a left foot.

It was announced on Thursday that the Dutch winger, 35, has retired from the game with immediate effect.

Robben’s glittering career saw him win league titles in Holland, England, Spain and Germany, as he also scored the winning goal in the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League final and reached the 2010 World Cup final with the Netherlands.

He spent the last 10 seasons at Bayern Munich, winning eight Bundesliga titles as well as the UCL trophy with the Bavarian giants. Robben scored in his final home game for Bayern during an emotional farewell alongside fellow wing-wizard Franck Ribery, who also left Bayern on the final day of the 2018-19 Bundesliga season.

In a statement confirming his retirement, Robben had this to say, as serious injuries have taken their toll on his body over the years.

“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 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.”

The Dutch national team put it best: “Congratulations on your fantastic career, Arjen!”

That it was. Robben was a pure winger and he was at his best when cutting inside and either crossing for a forward or curling home a perfectly placed shot.

He could have extended his career to somewhere like Major League Soccer or the Chinese Super League, but in the end father time has caught up with him.

Now that all is said and done, Robben will go down as one of the greatest natural wingers in the history of the game.

German Cup: Bayern Munich complete double by beating Leipzig

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BERLIN (AP) Captain Manuel Neuer returned from six weeks out injured to help Bayern Munich complete a domestic double after beating Leipzig 3-0 in the German Cup final on Saturday.

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Robert Lewandowski scored twice and Kingsley Coman grabbed the other as Bayern claimed a record-extending 19th cup win to make up for the disappointment of losing last year’s final to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Bayern coach Niko Kovac, who was in charge of Frankfurt at the time, boosted his chances of keeping his job in Munich after bringing a successful end to what had been a testing season.

Neuer, who missed Bayern’s Bundesliga triumph the week before due to a calf injury, produced two stunning saves in either half when a goal for Leipzig might have been decisive.

Neuer somehow denied Yussuf Poulsen’s header from close range in the 11th minute, when the ball crashed back off the crossbar, and got the better of Emil Forsberg in a one-on-one after the break, when the Swedish midfielder should have equalized.

“You couldn’t write a better script,” Neuer said.

Lewandowski opened the scoring with a header in the 29th, Coman doubled the lead in the 78th after Forsberg’s miss, and Lewandowski wrapped it up with a chip over the goalkeeper in the 85th.

[ U-20 WORLD CUP: Ezequiel Barco’s golazo paces Argentina to big win ]

Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery went on late to make their last appearances for Bayern after 10 and 12 seasons respectively. Ribery became the only player to play in eight German Cup finals.

“They delivered a lot for the team and the club,” Lewandowski said. “We have to be grateful.”

Leipzig was appearing in its first, and had been hoping to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its founding date with a win. Thousands of fans made the relatively short journey from Saxony to cheer their side, though they found themselves outnumbered by Bayern fans at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, which hosts German soccer’s showpiece every year.

“It’s a huge disappointment,” Leipzig chairman Oliver Mintzlaff said. “When you come here, you want to win.”

The supporters had been warming up for hours before the encounter, downing beers and singing songs at various locations in the city before making their way to the game. Fans who arrived on chartered buses lit barbeques and shared crates of beer by the side of the road.

Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick, the sporting director who took charge of the team on an interim basis before Julian Nagelsmann arrives from Hoffenheim, started with his strongest team, with American Tyler Adams lining up beside Kevin Kampl in midfield.

Leipzig looked sharper, fresher and quicker at the start, but one lapse was all Lewandowski needed to open the scoring. David Alaba whipped the ball in toward the penalty spot, where Lewandowski had too much space to head inside the left post.

Coman displayed a fantastic first touch to control the ball past the helpless Peter Gulacsi for Bayern’s second, and Lewandowski ensured the result was emphatic when he claimed his competition-leading seventh goal. Lewandowski was booked for removing his shirt in the celebrations, but he accepted the yellow card with a smile.

“We worked hard for the whole season. In the end you could say it was a good season for us,” the Polish striker said.

Bayern Munich stalwarts Ribery, Robben to leave this summer

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich has confirmed that fan favorites Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are to leave the club at the end of this season, with a testimonial game planned for both players in 2020.

[ MORE: Liverpool survive Newcastle scare to take PL title race to final day ]

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says, “Franck and Arjen are great players. Bayern owes a lot to both of them and will give them a wonderful and emotional farewell. They’ve helped shape Bayern’s most successful decade with fantastic football.”

The 35-year-old Robben had already announced at the end of 2018 that he would be leaving the club this summer, while Ribery, 36, had been hoping to extend his 12-year stay at the club.

Ribery tells the club website, “It won’t be easy to say goodbye, but we must never forget what we’ve achieved together.”

[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Christian Pulisic scores superb solo goal for Dortmund ]

Former France international Ribery scored in Bayern’s 3-1 win over Hannover on Saturday, when Robben also came on as a substitute to make his first appearance after five months out injured.

The Dutch winger said he had no plans to retire just yet: “I love football — I’d like to keep playing.”

Robben reportedly prefers MLS move to Serie A

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Arjen Robben to Major League Soccer?

Bayern Munich’s living Dutch legend, 35, is said to like the thought of an MLS move more than an offer from Inter Milan, according to Calcio Mercato.

[ MORE: Man City to FA Cup Final ]

Out-of-contract this summer, Robben has not returned to Bayern’s side after thigh and calf injuries short-circuited a decent season (especially relative to his age).

Robben scored five goals and added two assists in all competitions, including a brace against Benfica in the UEFA Champions League.

He has 143 goals and 101 assists in 305 matches for Bayern in a career which includes Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga, and Eredivisie titles between the Bavarian side, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and PSV Eindhoven.

Where could he fit, presumably as a Designated Player? Chicago could theoretically buy down Aleksandar Katai, who makes $1.3 million, with allocation money to reunite Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Or maybe Robben wouldn’t need a DP deal, somewhat like Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s start in MLS?

Robben claims Anfield to be his “worst stadium”

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What goes up must come down.

That’s essentially what Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben said before the German side heads to Liverpool to take on the Reds in Champions League play this coming week.

“You always have your favourite opponent and there always has to be a negative one,” Robben said to The Guardian. “I think, if you ask [about] the worst stadium for me, it’s probably Liverpool.”

Robben had a pair of Champions League heartbreaks at Anfield, both coming with Chelsea in 2005 and again in 2007. In the latter, Robben had a penalty saved by Pepe Reina in the shootout that sent the Reds to the final against AC Milan.

“At that time [Liverpool] were really capable of being this cup fighter team, also in the FA Cup or [League] Cup,” Robben said of those difficult memories. “In one or two games they could really live up to it and perform; just not the whole season, which was maybe too much. That was their biggest quality: they were there at the moment they needed to be there.”

“Now I think it changed and they developed really well. The manager has done a great job.”

Robben is a doubt to even play in the match due to a thigh injury, and that will probably help Jurgen Klopp sleep at night. The German boss saw Robben score nine goals against Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund across all competitions, including the decisive goal in the 2013 Champions League final in the 89th minute.