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Q&A with Arjen

Robben: Bayern was the best call of my career

Arjen Robben gave a press conference with a difference on Thursday afternoon, as the Dutchman exclusively addressed an audience of kids and youths at the German International School in Doha. The youthful “reporters” came equipped with replica shirts, flags, scarves, and an array of interesting questions.

“I came to FC Bayern at the age of 25. It was the best call of my career,” revealed Robben to his initially shy listeners. But the Dutchman is a father of three himself and soon had the kids eager to speak: “Who wants to ask a question?” he said – and almost every hand went up!

What would Arjen have become if he hadn’t made it in football, he was asked. “I might have become a sports teacher,” he said, emphasising how important it had been to complete his education: “If you’re unlucky and something happens to prevent you from playing, you have to have the chance of doing something else.” Robben did indeed stay in school until he was 18 and earned his leaving certificate.

The very young Arjen did little else but kick a ball around. “I played out on the street a lot. Scoring goals was always the most fun, and dribbling. I practised a lot,” he recalled. Who was his boyhood hero? “Romario, the Brazilian who played for PSV Eindhoven at the time,” he replied. And sure enough, after coming through the youth ranks at his home club FC Groningen, Robben switched to PSV before ending up at Bayern after spells with Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Robben has collected 11 trophies with FCB alone but refuses to describe himself as a superstar. “I don’t like the word at all,” he insisted. “I happen to have a talent for football, but otherwise I’m just like any other guy.” Naturally, he is a very successful person: “We’ve come on very well and won lots of trophies in recent years. I’m proud I had a part in it.”

The young fans were also interested in Arjen’s plans for the future. “I’m not exactly sure myself,” the winger replied. “There are a few options. Maybe I’ll become a coach, or maybe I’ll do something completely different. I’m thinking about it more and more.” However, the player is hoping the decision will not have to be made any time soon: “I want to keep playing for a long time yet.”