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The Dutch legend retired from professional football on July 15.
There has rarely been a better love story than the left foot of Arjen Robben and the goal. The Dutch pacy winger has had a phenomenal career playing for top teams across Europe and winning several pieces of silverware. He recently announced his retirement from professional football.
We take a look at 10 of his top goals throughout his long and illustrious career:
10. vs Zenit Saint-Petersburg, 2008-09 Champions League Group Stage
This goal is not otherworldly, but it finds itself on this list because of how smooth it was. Collecting an offload from Raul, Arjen Robben ran towards goal before placing a deft chip over the onrushing Zenit keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev. The goal gave Real Madrid a key two-goal cushion and ended up clinching the match for them.
The deftness and cheekiness of the goal makes it standout from all of the other Arjen Robben goals. A touch of class from the master left-footer.
9. vs Fulham, Premier League 2004-05 Matchday 13
Robben’s tenure at Chelsea was laden with trophies. Ushering in a new era under Jose Mourinho, Robben proved to be a valuable player for the Portuguese manager. One of the Dutch star’s signature moments came in the 13th match of the 2004-05 Premier League season. Playing against Fulham, Chelsea had taken the lead through Frank Lampard in the first half. But, Papa Diop scored an equalizer in the 57th minute.
Fulham were riding high, but it lasted for two minutes. Robben collected a stray clearance and dummied his way past five Fulham defenders before finding the net with his lethal left foot. Chelsea won the West London Derby 4-1, with Robben’s goal paving the way for a crucial turnaround.
8. vs Schalke, DFB Pokal 2010 Semi-Final
A testament to the energy and pace of Arjen Robben, this goal was a pure exhibition of dominance. Receiving the ball from the goalkeeper in the defensive third, Robben proceeded to make a magical run across the length of the pitch, before placing a trademark finish to the far post. The winger dribbled past three players during his solo run, but that was not even the most impressive part of his goal.
It was the fact that it came in the 112th minute of the game. Robben showed incredible grit and energy to cover the entire length of the pitch and score the winning goal. Bayern ended up winning the cup by beating Werder Bremen in the final.
7. vs Uruguay, FIFA World Cup 2010 Semi-Final
This is the only goal in the list, that is not borne from the left foot of Arjen Robben. The Netherlands and Uruguay faced off in a tense semi-final in South Africa. Having come off a thrilling victory over Brazil, the Dutch were looking to make it to their third World Cup final. Giovanni van Bronckhorst gave them an early lead with a screamer, but Diego Forlan cancelled it out with a long ranger.
In the 70th minute, Wesley Sneijder gave the Dutch the lead. Three minutes later, Dirk Kuyt floated in a brilliant cross from the left flank. Robben attacked the cross and his header was planted exactly in the corner to the keeper’s right, to give the Dutch some breathing space. The goal proved to be the winner, as Uruguay pulled one back later in the game, helping the Netherlands to a historic World Cup final
6. vs Barcelona, Champions League 2012-13 Semi-Final 2nd Leg
Barcelona were one of the most dominant teams of the world in the early 2010s. However, Bayern Munich came into the second leg having comprehensively beaten the Blaugrana in the first leg in Munich. The 4-0 lead looked insurmountable, but with the Barcelona squad anything seemed possible.
However, Arjen Robben had other plans. Early in the second half, the winger collected a long ball from David Alaba, before cutting across Adriano and placing a superb curler past Victor Valdes at the far post. It was a stern indication of the strength of his left foot and Bayern continued to punish Barcelona winning 7-0 on aggregate.
5. vs France, Euro 2008 Group Stage
Arjen Robben scored a timely goal that spelt doom for the 2006 World Cup finalists. France were in desperate need of at least a point to stay afloat in a tough group in the 2008 Euros. The Netherlands had already beaten Italy in the first game and took an early lead through Kuyt against France. Robin van Persie made it two in the second half, but Thierry Henry pulled one back for France in the 71st minute.
Just when France looked like they were on the ascendancy, Robben came through. Sneijder put Robben behind the defence on the left side. He absorbed pressure from two defenders before placing an impossible shot into the roof of the net. The Netherlands ended up winning 4-1 and progressed to the knockout rounds.
4. vs RB Leipzig, Bundesliga 2016-17 Matchday 33
It was the clash of the top two in the Bundesliga. Bayern Munich had already won the title, but newly-promoted RB Leipzig were desperate to show their strength against the German giants. They took the game to the Bavarians, taking a 2-1 lead at the turn of the half. They kept pushing and doubled the advantage. Bayern made changes and Arjen Robben was brought in.
His introduction changed the game. Bayern equalized in dramatic fashion, scoring two brilliantly taken goals. Just when the match looked like it was heading for a stalemate, Robben stepped up. The winger took the ball on the right side and made it past one Leipzig defender before dodging another to enter the box. He teased the goalkeeper before placing a deft chip with his left foot at the near post. Bayern claimed victory in the match.
3. vs Spain, FIFA World Cup 2014 Group Stage
Spain came into the 2014 World Cup as both world and European champions. Placed in the same group as their opponents in the 2010 final, it was bound to be a tight match. But, Robben and the Netherlands had other ideas. Teaming up with Van Persie, the Dutch overcame a 1-0 deficit to take a 4-1 lead.
Spain pushed up searching for a way to get back into the game. However, in the 80th minute a long ball released the then Bayern winger. Using his pace, Robben exploited the space before selling a dummy to fool Iker Casillas. He then dribbled past the Spain keeper and tucked it in the corner, despite two Spanish defenders being on the line. A statement goal from a statement player.
2. vs Manchester United, Champions League 2009-10 Quarterfinal Second Leg
In terms of sheer technique, none of the goals of Arjen Robben could hold a candle to this beauty. This goal proved to be instrumental as Bayern managed to take control of the tie on away goals and eventually progressed to the semi-finals.
Bayern were trailing 4-3 on aggregate at Old Trafford, with their European chances hanging in the balance. Franck Ribery took a corner and found his fellow winger at the edge of the box. Robben, took it first time without hesitation. His shot kept low and evaded a crowd of players before creeping into the far post. Bayern got the aggregate lead and held on for the win.
1. vs Borussia Dortmund, Champions League 2012-13 Final
Arjen Robben’s most impactful goal was not a thunderbolt into the top corner. Bayern found themselves in the final of the Champions League for the second year in a row. They were desperate not to repeat the mistakes of the previous year and took an early lead through Mario Mandzukic. However, their rivals Boruusia Dortmund levelled through an Ilkay Gundogan penalty.
In the 89th minute, a pacy Robben rushed past a crowd of Dortmund players to control a Ribery layoff and found himself alone, facing against Roman Weidenfeller. Instead of going for goal with power, Arjen Robben chose to roll it to the opposite side, giving Bayern the valuable second goal and the Champions League title.