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Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary People

Robben's Redemption

Updated: Feb 6, 2019


Wembley Stadium, 2013, Borussia Dortmund are playing Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. It was an amazing game, but within it there is a story hidden in there that most people missed.


So, sit down, and let me entertain you.

Champions League Final 2010, World Cup final 2010, the 2011/2012 Bundesliga season, the 2012 DFB pokal and the 2012 Champions League final.

What do all of these competitions have in common? Well, a single individual named Arjen Robben was involved in each of them, and he lost them all.

Let's start from the very beginning. The 2008/2009 season was a good one for Robben at Real Madrid. He was on his way to be the next big player for Los Blancos but a kid from Manchester United named Cristiano Ronaldo became available and Real Madrid just had to buy him.

So, the need to make space and get some cash back at the same time led to Robben being the odd man out, forced out of Madrid with no desire to go elsewhere, he found himself moving to Germany, Munich to be precise.

Munich manager Louis van Gaal pulled all of his tricks and motivated him, along with the whole squad enough to win both the domestic cup and league. A triple was on the horizon with the C1 final. And it looked really good for Bayern, but it was not to be. Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder ruined the party.

Sneijder and Robben then went together to South Africa to represent the Dutch National Team at the World Cup (shout out to the van Bronckhorst goal). And thanks to an outstanding defense and finding the back of the goal, and the Oranjes were in the final.


Robben was playing great football, but on the night of the final, he was unable to score a goal. And thanks to one very painful Spanish goal by Andres Iniesta later, the Dutchman was once again on the losing side.

Bayern was then surpassed by arch rival Dortmund in the Bundesliga, two seasons in a row. While there was hope in for Munich to win the cup final, the red and blue would lose thanks to a missed shot by Robben in the penalty shootout.


Bayern continued to compete in the Champions League final that year, however once again, Robben missed another penalty. A penalty that would have won the game.

The 2012/2013 season begun, things got worse. His career had been plagued with injuries and this was no different. Even worse now, when he got back to form he found himself relagated to the bench by Xherdan Shaqiri.


Just when we all thought "that's it for Robben", he worked harder and smarter in training. He came off the bench with great performances and when Shaqiri got injured himself, Robben reentered the starting xi.

He scored big goal after big goal in the league, and he also eliminated Dortmund from the cup with a huge goal that even impressed Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp.


So there Bayern was with another double on their hands, as well as another Champions League final. This time against perennial challenger Dortmund. Now was the chance to really make an impression, could they win the 100m sprint that is the UCL final?


Robben started off hot after he assisted Mario Mandzukic's goal, but he then saw his team give away a penalty to bring the game back to 1-1.

Then in the dying moments of the game, Robben received a long ball while darting into the box. After what seemed like a a split second of hesitation, he drove the ball down low on the right side, passed the keeper, and into the goal. Wembley exploded. Robben was sliding on his knees and you could feel the relief.


When the whistle blew minutes later, I cried with Robben.

If this was a movie, the scenario would have been highly mocked, unrealistic scenario etc. But yet, it happened.

This is why sports are amazing.

 
 

ANDREW GELINAS

Writer, Creator

Green Typewriter

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