Arjen Robben was one of the most avidly watchable players of his generation. The Dutch winger was one half of Bayern Munich’s esteemed Robbery duo alongside Frenchman Franck Ribery, with the pair terrorising fullbacks in the Bundesliga and beyond for the best part of a decade.
With his trademark scampering running style, mesmerising feet and fabulous left boot, he was an integral part of Bayern’s terrific 2010s side and an exciting cog in some of the best Netherlands’ teams that his country has ever produced.
Here are some of the best moments from Robben’s outstanding career.
A 20-year-old Arjen Robben announced himself on the international scene at Euro 2004 as part of the Netherlands’ exciting young side.
He turned in a dazzling performance during their group stage clash with the Czech Republic, setting up the Netherlands’ opening two goals as they raced into a 2-0 lead. Robben was substituted with his side 2-1 up – and the Dutch went on to lose 3-2.
The winger also buried the decisive spot kick during the Netherlands’ quarter final penalty shootout victory over Sweden.
Euro 2008 is universally regarded as the greatest major tournament ever, and the effervescent Dutch side were all part of the infectious fun.
The Netherlands were drawn in the group of death alongside 2006 World Cup finalists Italy and France – but promptly beat the pair convincingly.
In their second group game against France, Robben set up Robin van Persie’s goal to give the Dutch a 2-0 lead with a scurry down the wing and pinpoint cross. He then wrapped up a famous 4-1 victory with a moment of individual brilliance, shuffling into the box and forcing the ball into the roof of the net from a near impossible angle.
Manchester United were 3-0 up in the second leg of the 2009/10 Champions League quarter final at Old Trafford, leading 4-2 on aggregate.
Ivica Olic pulled one back for Bayern and Rafael da Silva saw red, leaving the German outfit just needing to score once to progress to the last four on away goals.
And it was some goal they found. Ribery picked out Robben lurking on the edge of the United penalty area from a corner, and the Dutchman waited an age for the ball to come down before sending a fabulous, low first time volley into the bottom corner to complete a remarkable Bayern comeback.
The Netherlands at the 2010 World Cup are ultimately remembered for suddenly transforming into a well drilled, s***housery outfit for the final against Spain. They lost 1-0 and Robben missed a glorious opportunity as he was denied by former Real Madrid teammate Iker Casillas.
But prior to that, the Dutch had been excellent and Robben had been instrumental in guiding his side to the final.
He hit the opener during the Netherlands’ 2-1 last 16 victory over Slovakia, and wrapped up his country’s 3-1 semi final win over Uruguay with a rare headed goal.
A game that was largely meaningless for Bayern Munich towards the back end of the 2010/11 season, with the Bundesliga title already wrapped up by Borussia Dortmund, was actually quite important for St Pauli as they attempted to avoid the drop.
Naturally, Bayern won 8-1 and Robben turned in an outrageous individual display, scoring twice and providing a further two assists. Ruthless stuff.
Bayern came up against the might of Barcelona in the 2013 Champions League semi finals – where they turned in a merciless two-legged display to run out comprehensive 7-0 winners; one of the greatest results in the club’s history.
Robben netted a step-over-inspired third during Bayern’s 4-0 win at the Allianz Arena, before scoring a stunning opener during his side’s 3-0 victory at Camp Nou.
The winger received David Alaba’s superb cross field diagonal, cutting inside in trademark Robben fashion before unleashing a signature curling left foot effort into the top corner.
After missing a penalty against Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final and failing to convert another spot kick in a crucial league fixture against Borussia Dortmund that same season, which helped to hand Jurgen Klopp’s side the league title, Robben redeemed himself on both accounts in the Champions League final against Dortmund the following campaign.
With the scores finely poised at 1-1 and the game heading for extra time, Robben popped up in the 89th minute, riding two Dortmund challenges and delicately slotting past Roman Weidenfeller to give his side the lead.
The goal proved to be the winner, as Robben got his hands on the Champions League title for the first and thus far only (we’re still holding out hope for Groningen) time in his career.