‘Robben in top form is the best player in the Eredivisie’
Something that Arjen Robben must also have thought when, after repeated setbacks at FC Groningen, he was unable to show what he still has to offer. It gnawed at the routine. He proved not to have forgotten how to play football against FC Emmen. In fact, he was the driving force behind the team that won 4-0.
His reaction afterwards spoke volumes.
Doesn’t matter how old you are
Handball player Lois Abbingh can talk about it. She was badly injured on her knee twice. The Groningen international has successfully rehabilitated twice. If she had not seen it anymore and had stopped, she would never have become the player who shot the Netherlands to the world title in handball for the first time. ‘It doesn’t matter how old you are. At those moments you forget everything you experienced before during an injury, ‘says Abbingh.
Naturally she also doubted whether she should continue. ‘If you enjoy playing matches, that is the guidance you need. At a young age, the urge to prove is also very important. ‘
Abbingh sat down for it on Sunday afternoon after training with her club Odense in Denmark. ‘I was home at half past twelve and watched most of the game. It was great to see how passionate Robben still is. If you can still play at that level at the age of 37, you just have to do it. ‘
Rutger Smith saw the excellent Robben in summary. The former discus thrower and shot putter from Leek had to deal with serious injuries in his career. He always found the perseverance not to put an end to his career at those moments. He sees the same with Robben.
‘First of all, it is a very nice victory for FC Groningen. And that Robben plays an important role in this is even better. A match like yesterday is a reward for his perseverance. Then the difficult months would have been worth it all, ‘says de Reus from Leek, with many medals from World and European Championships in the trophy cabinet.
Most beautiful years of your life
Smith himself put an end to his sporting career in 2018 at the age of 37. Robben is just as old, but that is still possible in Smith’s eyes: ‘Football is a team sport, so you cannot play well yourself, but the team can win. It was different for me as an individual athlete. And if you can still do it like Robben now, you should do it. The years as a top athlete are the best of your life. In top form he is the best player in the Eredivisie. ‘
The moment of stopping is difficult to determine
Danielle Bekkering also noticed that something special happened on the Oude Meerdijk in Emmen on Sunday afternoon. She has not seen everything, but what she saw did the former marathon skater well. ‘I recognize a lot of fun in Robben’s playing. Something I always had. I also think he is very passionate and enthusiastic. Furthermore, his influence and quality is very great. As a result, Robben shows that he can still play very well, ‘says Bekkering.
Whether the Bedumer should stick to it for another year or stop is of course up to Robben himself. Conversion can hardly judge in that regard. ‘I have been injured relatively little. The time to stop is difficult to determine. In any case, I didn’t want to fill the squad anymore and I decided to stop myself. What can play a role is whether FC Groningen will achieve European football. That would perhaps complete the circle for Robben. ‘
Robben to EC?
In answer to the question of whether Robben should be selected for the European Championship, the three top athletes from Groningen have similar opinions. Smith: ‘I think every national coach wants to have a player like Robben in the selection. On the other hand, he also closed it nicely with Orange. If you say ‘no’ you should not regret it afterwards. At the end of your career, you have to follow your heart. ‘
Bekkering: ‘Robben knows the game so well. If – like yesterday – I see how fit he is, he can go to the European Championship as far as I’m concerned. But of course it is his decision. ‘ Abbingh: ‘If you have done so much to excel at Emmen-Groningen, then you just have to do it. And age does not matter. Experience can be decisive at the European Championship.