Football News

Arjen Robben finally explains why he left Real Madrid

By Harry Edwards

Published: 15:15, 24 May 2019

Arjen Robben has revealed the reason he left Real Madrid for Bayern Munich in 2009.

The Dutchman is set to call time on his 10-year stay in Bavaria in the summer, with Bayern looking to start a new era with younger stars.

Why did Arjen Robben leave Real Madrid? Five key things to know…

  1. Arjen Robben joined Real Madrid in 2007 from Premier League side Chelsea.
  2. The Dutchman spent two years in Spain, enjoying considerable success.
  3. But he would leave for Bayern Munich in 2009, where he has spent the past 10 seasons.
  4. And Robben has now revealed the return of Florentino Perez as club president caused his move.
  5. Perez’s arrival in 2009 accompanied the signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso.

During his time at the club, Robben won everything on offer, including eight Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokals and the 2012/13 Champions League, with the Dutchman scoring the winning goal against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

Prior to Bayern, Robben spent two seasons in La Liga with Real Madrid and became a key player as they looked to dominate Spanish football. But the Dutchman has admitted he made the choice to leave Real Madrid upon the arrival of Florentino Perez as club president – despite being happy.

“It became difficult for me because of the change of president at Real,” he told Goal.

“I actually felt very comfortable there and played very well, but when politics come into play and you do not get a real chance, you have to make a decision whether you want to keep fighting or to go and continue your career elsewhere.

“It was not just [Cristiano] Ronaldo. Perez returned as the club’s president. He then bought Ronaldo, but also Kaka, [Karim] Benzema and Xabi Alonso.

“Real spent so much money and we were told that they needed to make a bit of money back on outgoing transfers.

“For me, it was a shame, because I had a very good relationship with the former coach Manuel Pellegrini. In addition, I had perhaps the best pre-season of my career.”

After scoring in the final-day win over Eintracht Frankfurt to secure the Bundesliga, Robben will be hoping to have a similar impact on Saturday when Bayern face RB Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal final.

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Robben: Moving to Bayern was the best decision of my career

At a good stage in his career, it was a big decision for Robben to leave a Real Madrid side looking to build another Galacticos team.

But the Dutchman revealed how compatriots Mark van Bommel and Louis van Gaal – both of whom were at Bayern – caused him to make the best decision of his career.

“I talked to Mark and to Van Gaal,” Robben added. “He told me how had he plans for me. Both clearly signalled to me: ‘Come to Munich, please’.

“The decision [to leave] was not easy. We sat down as a family on the terrace and talked.

“After all, there was no going back after leaving a huge club like Real Madrid. In comparison, Bayern was not so successful in Europe at the time, and my goal had always been to win the Champions League.

“I wanted to show that I was good enough. The move to Bayern was the best decision of my career.”