Opinion: Arjen Robben′s finale at Bayern Munich the long-awaited end of an era | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 02.12.2018
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Opinion: Arjen Robben's finale at Bayern Munich the long-awaited end of an era

Arjen Robben has confirmed that this will be his last season for Bayern Munich, and Franck Ribery is also expected to leave. While the decision might be overdue, it also demands recognition of Robben's achievements.

It was time. Perhaps it's two years too late, but Arjen Robben is leaving Bayern Munich. It felt like the two would never part, caught up in a love story that was fated to drag on well after the marriage had stopped working. But now the Dutchman has declared that this will be his final season in red and white, and it feels right. In leaving though, Robben has reminded both his club and the football world that he is so much more than a winger who can cut in from the right.

Robben is probably the greatest Bayern Munich player of the last decade. Since his arrival in 2009, he has so often been a match winner. Under Louis van Gaal he sparkled to the point where if he and Franck Ribery were out, Bayern's attack struggled. Under Jupp Heynckes Robben won it all and under Pep Guardiola he became a more rounded talent, appreciating the need for defensive wing work and caring for his body in a way that left him less fragile.

Deutsche Welle Englisch Fußball Jonathan Harding (DW/P.Henriksen)

DW's Jonathan Harding

He could have faded like many wingers who reach a hill called the 30s and can no longer find a way up it. Instead, he has matured and enhanced a magical style of play that is built around devastating agility and lightness of foot. He's even rid himself of the once incessant diving that sullied his game.

One of the greats

Were it not for injuries, the highlight reel of Robben's career might be even longer. The Bavarian years still making for special viewing, though. This is the man who scored that sensational volley from a corner to send Manchester United out of the Champions League, who has lifted Bayern Munich in games and in seasons where they didn't have it all their way. Scoring a late winner in that epic Champions League final in 2013 against Borussia Dortmund, Robben even delivered redemption. The previous year, he missed a penalty in the Bundesliga that effectively handed Dortmund the title and not long after that missed a spot kick in the Champions League final at home against Chelsea.

Fußball Franck RIBERY Bayern München mit Arjen ROBBEN (Imago/Sven Simon/F. Hoermann)

Robben and Ribery will be moving on - as change finally catches up with Bayern

Robben looks set to leave Bayern with an average of almost a goal every other game - an incredible stat for a winger. At Bayern though, Robben became much more than just a winger, he became a local. Bayern Munich are not an easy club to play for, let alone to become a legend at, but there is no doubt that Robben will leave as one.

The final chapter of a significant era in Bayern's history awaits, especially with Franck Ribery also expected to depart. But Robben will leave in the most fitting of manners. Just like he has done countless times on the wing for Bayern Munich, Robben has recognised exactly the right moment to make his move.

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