Jupp Heynckes dismissed fears of discontent at Bayern Munich after Arjen Robben expressed his frustration not to have been in the starting lineup for Bayern Munich against Besiktas in the Champions League. Robben came on as a sub in the 44th minute to replace the injured James Rodriguez just after Bayern had taken a 1-0 lead thanks to Thomas Muller.
After the match, Robben had said he was surprised and described his omission from the starting eleven as “a painful story,” but Heynckes insisted that there’s nothing sour between the two, and that he understands Robben’s frustration (Kicker):
That’s all exaggerated. When players are ambitious, passionate, and professional, it’s only reasonable that they all want to contribute in such a game. I deal with it in a completely relaxed way. It’s actually motivational for the whole troop.
Additionally, Heynckes went on to laud the peak physical condition that Robben is able to maintain at 34 years of age, paying homage to his incredible physique:
Every sculptor would count himself lucky to have him as a model. He has worked for that body. In this case, he is an example for others.
With Robben’s production this season, there should be no shortage of praise to go around as the Dutchman has tallied 5 goals and 10 assists from 25 appearances across all competitions. He has scored 3 goals and made 9 assists since Heynckes took charge of the club in mid-October. Robben is yet another player who’s experienced a renaissance under Heynckes.
At 34 years of age, both Robben and Franck Ribery face uncertainty with their contract situations come the end of the season, but Heynckes insisted that “they are very, very important for the team and for the coming weeks and months.”