Arjen Robben, who stopped permanently as a professional footballer last summer, was put in the spotlight in FC Groningen’s competition match against RKC. The top Dutch striker received special honors from his first and last team in professional football.
Vincent van GenstenSource: telegraph
Robben received a standing ovation on a pitch that ran out of everything, and the 96-time international walked across the stands to loud applause. Fans thanked Groninger with various banners. The children were wearing white T-shirts that read “Thank you, Aryan”.
He thanked coach Marc-Jean-Flederos Robben “for everything you did for the club last year”. Fledderus hopes that Robben will return to the Northerners in a different role in the future. “I don’t think this is farewell, but we’ll see you often.”
“I would have liked to say goodbye as a player on a full stadium, but I am grateful. That’s also beautiful,” the 37-year-old Robben told the fans. “On my behalf, a big thank you to everyone and everyone who cares about Groningen.”
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Robben made his professional football debut on December 3, 2000 at the age of 16 at RKC Waalwijk. It came in the final stage. “With a tribute on Sunday 7 November against RKC Waalwijk, things come together after 21 years,” Groningen said earlier. “On that day, one of the greatest Dutch footballers of all time and the best player ever produced from club training says goodbye to his fans, his club Groningen.”
Robben played his 59th and final qualifying match for Groningen on May 19 this year. Due to constant physical problems, the international played 96 times sporadically in his second half at FC Groningen. His notable return to the Eredivisie, after a year off, was limited to one season.