For being the fourth best footballer in the world in 2014 and considered one of the best wingers in the world, Arjen Robben isn’t a legend because of a huge personality (Steinberg). He was born in a small town in the Netherlands called Bedum, married his high school sweetheart, and has had a relatively uncontroversial career aside from a reputation for diving, which serves as an extreme annoyance to his opponents (Doody). At the start of his rise to success, Robben moved around a few high profile teams like Chelsea and Real Madrid before settling down for a long run with Bayern Munich. Despite having a career ridden with injuries, he quickly won many league titles, 5 in just 8 years, and became the player to obtain 100 wins in the least amount of matches (out of 126 played in the German League)( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNz9_irFUlY). He’s known for his left-footed skills and speed, earning him the nickname of “the flying Dutchman.”
As popular as he is with Bayern Munich fans, the Dutch consider him a national hero for his contribution to Holland’s national team in Euro and World Cups. However, losing in the finals of the 2010 World Cup to Spain would come down as a huge personal loss to Robben. After all, the Netherlands hadn’t been in the World Cup finals since 1978 against Argentina. The score was tied 0-0 when Robben was given the most opportune chance to score of the entire game in the 62nd minute. It was down to the wire, Robben was passed the ball and was positioned straight in front of the goal to face off one-on-one with Spain’s goalkeeper, Iker Casillas. He shoots! But Casillas pushes out his foot and the ball flies wide. The disappointment on Robben’s face is apparent. (See video below). The score remained 0-0 for the rest of the game until Spain scored a goal in overtime and the Dutch’s dreams of the World Cup are shattered (Fletcher).
Robben and the Dutch team returned with a vengeance for the 2014 World Cup. Spain and the Netherlands would meet again sooner rather than later, as they had to battle it out for a spot in the top 16 knockout stages. Spain scored the first goal of the match and seemed to be in a satisfactory position even after the Dutch tied it 1-1 to end the first half. But this time the tides rapidly shifted. The second half of the match was a turning point for the Dutch team; they had clearly come to win. Robben scored the first goal of the second half (0:55 in the video below), directly followed by a goal by Sneijder and later Van Persie. To top it off, Robben proved he was worthy of his nickname and outran a Spanish player to easily score his second and the final goal of the match (1:47 in the video below) in a complete domination over the Spanish team (Fanning). Although the Dutch continued on to place third, he got his revenge.
Doody, Ben. “Arjen Robben: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.” Heavy. 13 June 2014. <http://heavy.com/news/2014/06/arjen-robben-cancer-stats-wife-bayern-munich/>.
Fanning, Evan. “Spain v Holland, World Cup 2014: as it happened.” The Telegraph. 14 June 2014. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup/10892667/Spain-v-Holland-World-Cup-2014-live.html>.
Fletcher, Paul. “Netherlands 0-1 Spain.” BBC. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2010/matches/match_64/default.stm?textpanel=report>.
Steinberg, Jacob. “The top 100 footballers of 2014.” The Guardian. 21 December 2014. < http://www.theguardian.com/football/ng-interactive/2014/dec/21/the-top-100-footballers-2014-interactive>.