With FC Groningen crashing out of the Europa League playoffs to Utrecht, many are questioning if the 38 year old former Champions League winner can continue, including Robben himself
Despite having very little money, no fans in the stadium, and a squad with a value far lower than many others in the Eredivisie, FC Groningen again surpassed expectations to make it to the Europa League playoffs by finishing seventh. Unfortunately, last night, ‘the pride of the north’ lost 1-0 to FC Utrecht, ending their European dreams for another season. As reported by the GIC.
One highlight of the season has been the return of Arjen Robben to his boyhood club, and seeing the 38-year old legend appearing in green and white has been a huge boost to the fans. However, Robben has suffered from consistent injuries, and though he managed to play the full 90 minutes against FC Utrecht, there has been a growing realisation that he may have played his last game. “I have already said that after the season I will take stock and look to the future. Then we will then make a decision somewhere” says Robben.
With Robben spending much of the middle portion of the season out injured, and only making his return to full fitness recently, quitting now would be a bit of an anticlimax. “That also makes it very difficult. You are growing and you are getting fitter. I would have preferred to continue playing football for two or three months now”, says Robben.
“If you have the guarantee that this fitness will continue, it is nice to continue for a while. But I also have to see whether that is realistic”, Robben added.
Should Robben decide to stop, he is at least happy with this ending. “On the one hand, there is a kind of pride. I’ve come a long way. This was perhaps my most difficult rehabilitation ever, because I hadn’t played football for a year.”
Image: Robben in 2019, playing for Bayern Munich. By WIkimedia user Sven Mandel. License here.