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Return to Madrid

Robben living the Real dream

A Champions League final is always special, but Saturday’s Bayern v Inter clash at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid is truly significant for Arjen Robben, as he makes an early return to a former stamping ground.

He and his friend Wesley Sneijder were both Real Madrid players at the start of the season, but the pair now star for Bayern and Inter respectively. And then there is Inter boss José Mourinho, Robben’s erstwhile coach at Chelsea. “It really is a special match,” Robben agreed.

The Champions League final is sure to be a bittersweet occasion for Real loyalists. Robben and Sneijder were still their heroes last August, but the stellar signings of Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo left Real in need of cash and with a bloated squad. The Dutch duo were politely but firmly advised to find new employers.

Madrid’s dream of contesting the final on their home patch crumbled feebly in the last sixteen, and now their former Dutch duo are back to battle for the greatest prize in European club football. “We both wanted to stay in Madrid at the start of the season,” Robben revealed. “But the situation changed, and we both decided to go. Coming back now is super.”