At 34, most footballers are either bit-part players at European clubs or enjoying their last fat paycheque in places like China or the United States, but Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is unlike most athletes.
The former Chelsea, Real Madrid attacker is still going strong in his 11th season with the Bavarian giants and played the full 90 minutes of Die Bayern’s UEFA Champions League opener against Benfica on Wednesday night.
Robert Lewandowski and Renato Sanchez netted, either side of the interval, to give the five-time champions a comfortable away win and while Robben didn’t score or notch an assist, his nifty bit of skill was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tie.
Receiving a lofted pass right on the throw-in line with his back to his own goal and cornered by two Benfica players, Robben nonchalantly executed a Cryuff pass mid-air to teammate Renato Sanches in the blink of an eye.
No wonder the official Twitter handle of the UEFA Champions League thought it worthy of being awarded skill of the day:
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 19, 2018
Robben’s had his share of injuries over the years, but it’s remarkable that the veteran is still a regular at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Bayern haven’t won the Champions League since their epic 2012-13 season, when they lifted the treble, but are being picked by many experts as the team to break Real Madrid’s stranglehold on the continental trophy.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain are some of the other contenders for the biggest prize in club football as well.
Los Blancos have won the title for three years on the trot now, but many feel that Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure has left a void that the Spanish outfit will struggle to fill.