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Exclusive interview

Robben: It's just tremendous

Arjen Robben had an outstanding 2013/14 campaign with Bayern, scoring 19 goals and providing 16 assists in 43 matches. The Dutchman maintained his scintillating form for his country at the World Cup in Brazil, prompting FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to lead a host of experts in identifying Robben as the best outfield player at the tournament. The 30-year-old was recognised for his achievement on Thursday when he was named on the three-man shortlist for the European player of the year award. “It's just tremendous,” Robben told in our exclusive interview at the Säbener Strasse.

Interview: Arjen Robben Arjen, congratulations on being named one of the three best players in Europe. Are you proud?
Arjen Robben: It's just tremendous. It's a wonderful recognition and a great honour. I only have to look at the long, long list of great players in Europe to know it's fantastic and a nice reward for the last few years here at Bayern and with my national team.

Manuel Neuer is also on the shortlist of three...
Two from FC Bayern, and Thomas Müller and Philipp in fourth and fifth. That's exceptional and shows we here at Bayern have clearly made our mark on Europe in recent years.

You didn't play in the Supercup in Dortmund. Why not?
It's what we agreed because the match came too early for me. I need to train hard for a few days and recover my rhythm. I'm still very much in pre-season.

Did you have a relaxing holiday?
My desire to play football is certainly back again. I'm ready for the restart! Obviously the three weeks went by in a flash and I'm sure a couple more days would have done us all good. But it just wasn't possible because we have the DFB Cup first round on Sunday .

Did you watch the Supercup on TV?
Of course. We started well but lost the plot, although all credit to Dortmund because they did very well indeed. And I'm so sorry about what happened with Javi...

He was diagnosed today with a ruptured cruciate. Have you spoken to him?
Yes. He was here at the Säbener Strasse after the examination. It's just devastating. He’s an extremely important player and he's made the difference in lots of big games, last year's cup final for example, or the 2013 Champions League final when he was the best man on the field. He just has to get through it now and stay mentally calm. It's hard, but he'll be back.

Some fans are concerned that it might be a patchy start to the season due to the complicated summer. What do you think?
No-one need have any worries. Obviously, our opponents will be even more fired up this season, but we know what we can do and we have a coach with so much experience of this situation. I think it's good we start with strong opposition in the shape of Wolfsburg, Schalke and Stuttgart. Everyone will be thinking: 'Hey, here we go again.' We can't afford to be careless.

As you mentioned, you play third division Preußen Münster in the cup this Sunday. What are you expecting?
They'll definitely fight hard with everything they've got. We won’t be handed anything on a plate but if we play to our footballing strengths we’ll make the next round. I’m very confident.

Franck Ribéry has now followed Philipp Lahm in announcing his retirement from international football. Is that something you’ve considered?
No! I'll carry on for as long as I enjoy it and my body allows it.