Arjen Robben returned to the Groningen squad this Sunday and played the last minutes of the Eredivisie game against Heerenveen. At 37, it is the winger’s first appearance on the pitch since October 18 after he had overcome his umpteenth muscle injury.
The former Real Madrid footballer replaced Alessio da Cruz in the 78th minute, shortly after Heerenveen took the lead, and could not prevent his team’s defeat by 0-2, as the visitors widened the difference in the Marker with a goal from Tibor Halilovic in 86 ‘.
Robben had a good chance in injury time, but his shot went off by half a meter. In the end the visitors took victory in the so-called northern derby, as Heerenveen (10th place) and Groningen (6th) are the strongest teams in the north of the Netherlands.
Robben, 37, announced his retirement in July 2019, when he was playing for Bayern Munich, but surprised the world of football when he announced in June 2020 his return to play for Groningen, the modest Dutch first division team in the one that was formed.
Third appearance since returning to football
Today’s game is his third appearance this year, after playing the first 30 minutes of the first game of the season on September 13 against PSV Eindhoven and the last 14 minutes of another game against Utrecht held on October 18.
Since then, Robben has repeatedly expressed doubts about whether he would be able to return to the pitch due to physical discomfort in the calves. However, the Groningen board of directors has made public its desire to renew the ex-Madridista’s contract for one more season.