Arjen Robben, who spent almost over a decade of his career at Bayern Munich and was a critical part of several of the most memorable moments in the club history, was honoured with a special award on Monday at the 2019 Sport Bild Awards.
The Dutchman worked under a total of five coaches during his time at Bayern — from Louis van Goal to Niko Kovač. After the awards, when asked to name the manager whom he preferred to play under the most, Robben talked about how comfortable he was under Pep Guardiola and how much he enjoyed playing under him. He said (via SportBild),
That’s obviously hard. I’ve experienced many wonderful tings with many coaches; we were very successful. But if you ask me who was the best, I’d say Pep Guardiola. I had the most fun with him. He’s simply a genius in football.
Robben has many good memories with each of his coaches, but it was the Spaniard that fascinated him the most. Guardiola helped him improve his game and steer clear of the doubts and troubles any 30-year-old footballer would have in his career:
When Pep came, I was already 30 years old. At that point you actually are just trying to stay consistent and not get worse. But under him I got better again. I suddenly was playing at different positions where I would have never thought that I’d play. He was the very best.
Mr. Wembley announced his retirement from professional football just a month after leaving Munich. He revealed that one of the major reasons for his retirement was his injury history. He said:
The love for the game and the conviction that you can still do everything, versus the reality that everything isn’t going the way you want, and you’re no longer a 16-year-old boy who still have no idea what an injury means.
Robben has his future planned already: he will join his youngest son’s team and start training them from the coming season onwards. He said:
Next season, I’ll coach the team of my youngest son. Then they already know what’s on the training agenda: cutting inside from the right and shooting with their left foot!
The Dutchman’s signature cutting in from the right and scoring sublime screamers with his left foot will surely be missed at the Allianz.