The Netherland international’s decision to leave Madrid for Bayern Munich was one of the toughest he had to make.
Arjen Robben recently admitted in an interview that he had his reservations about moving to Bayern Munich when Real Madrid had to let him go in the summer of 2009.
Robben was let go in order to balance the books after Real brought in a number of high-profile signings, and he was initially extremely reluctant to leave the Spanish capital. Robben admitted to feeling that Bayern would be a step down from Real Madrid.
His thoughts concerning the club’s stature were swept aside after Bayern’s persistent efforts and Robben finally decided to make a move to the Allianz Arena.
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“It was a bit of a weird summer with the return of Florentino Perez as president. And then all the new signings arrived. Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso all came to Madrid for a huge amount of money,” Robben told Fox Sports.
“We were told that the club would be able to make some money on me if they sold me. But I initially did not want to leave. I had possibly my best pre-season ever, but I still did not get a chance, so I had to make a decision.
“There was contact with Bayern, but it was a difficult decision, the most difficult one of my career. Bayern were not among the European elite at that moment – like we are now – and it was a step back for me.
“I went for it in the end, because the club did everything within their power to sign me. And the presence of Louis van Gaal obviously played a role as well.
“I am a real Bayern man now, I am into my eighth season here and I have become a part of this club.”
Robben has been key to Bayern’s success and has been an essential cog in the machine that dominates the Bundesliga with an iron boot. He quickly grew accustomed to the fans and players of Bayern Munich and quickly rose the ranks to become one of the best players in the Bundesliga and subsequently, the world.
Robben is regarded as one of the best wingers in the world, with ESPN stating he is “able to take on and beat defenders at the drop of a hat, Robben’s ability to get to the byline and deliver in accurate crosses instils fear into any defence.”