Arjen Robben: No Longer a Symbol of Selfishness

If you've ever played football even once in your life, be it at the professional level, for your school team, or simply with a bunch of friends in a parking lot I can almost guarantee that you've played with a selfish player.

A selfish player or a ball hog, is someone who tries to take on five players every time they have the ball and will only pass if they have absolutely no other option. 

They likely wear bright neon pink boots and have an unhealthy whiff of arrogance about them.

For every great goal they score, there are at least six other times that they screw up a promising attack with their selfishness. 

Arjen Robben, as gifted and talented as he undoubtedly has been, fell into this category up until about two seasons ago. Sure, he scored a few great goals from midfield and had the innate ability to ghost past defenders, but he had the frustrating habit of always cutting to the middle from the right and either taking on one player too many or blazing the ball over the top of the goal.

Frustration with him among some Bayern Munich supporters peaked after he missed a crucial penalty in the 2012 Champions League Final, that the club would lose on their own pitch to Chelsea. 

The Dutch international has dramatically improved in the seasons following that  traumatic defeat and after terrific performances for club and country is now considered to be among the best players in the world. 

Redeeming himself with the winning goal in the 2013 Champions League Final, along with playing a big role in Bayern's domestic dominance, he also enjoyed a memorable World Cup in 2014 with the Netherlands as he helped his country to a berth in the Semi Final.

His improved performances, and his reduced selfishness, have not gone unnoticed with his teammates as Bayern captain Phillip Lahm said this week to Jutarni, "Robben has changed a lot, he's no longer a symbol of selfishness."

I will have to remember that line, "a symbol of selfishness", and perhaps roll that out to one or two ball hogs at my next indoor 5-a-side match.


  1. I don't think Robben was ever "selfish", just less experienced.
    This is actually an insult, and he doesn't deserve it.
    Lahm should think more before he gives "compliments".
    (A rocket scientist he probably won't be).

    1. I think Lahm meant it as a compliment, but yes it's pretty backhanded really in saying he was a "symbol of selfishness" before.