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Robben living the Real dream

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Robben living the Real dream

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu May 20, 2010 10:00 am

A Champions League final is always special, but Saturday's Bayern v Inter clash at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid is truly significant for Arjen Robben, as he makes an early return to a former stamping ground.

He and his friend Wesley Sneijder were both Real Madrid players at the start of the season, but the pair now star for Bayern and Inter respectively. And then there is Inter boss José Mourinho, Robben's erstwhile coach at Chelsea. "It really is a special match," Robben agreed.

The Champions League final is sure to be a bittersweet occasion for Real loyalists. Robben and Sneijder were still their heroes last August, but the stellar signings of Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo left Real in need of cash and with a bloated squad. The Dutch duo were politely but firmly advised to find new employers.

Madrid's dream of contesting the final on their home patch crumbled feebly in the last sixteen, and now their former Dutch duo are back to battle for the greatest prize in European club football. "We both wanted to stay in Madrid at the start of the season," Robben revealed. "But the situation changed, and we both decided to go. Coming back now is super."

Ready for Inter

Robben left Chelsea for Madrid in 2007, scoring 11 goals in 50 league appearances for Real. By comparison, he already has 16 goals for Bayern in just 24 Bundesliga outings. Unsurprisingly, wistful voices in Madrid are regretting the loss of the gifted 26-year-old and his dynamic counterpart Sneijder. By a twist of fate, the pair are now coming back, albeit briefly. "Real's dream was to be in the final at their home ground, but it's not worked out. We left, found new clubs, and now we're in the final," Robben mused.

After Bayern's cup final victory over Werder Bremen, Arjen texted his fellow countryman. "We're ready for you now," he wrote, although it was naturally a joke between mates. "We're both aware of the situation. Everyone wants to win. We can both be proud of the season so far." Reports say Sneijder might not play due to injury, but Robben does not believe it. "He'll play, I'm 100 percent certain. He may need 100 injections, but he'll play."

They speak, you listen

The midfielder is a key figure in Mourinho's tactical plan. Robben, who played for the Portuguese coach from 2004 to 2007 at Chelsea, is a Mourinho fan. "We won everything there is to win in England, and we made history, because Chelsea won the league for the first time in 50 years. I had nothing but positive experiences there, and I'm looking forward to seeing him."

Arjen is well-placed to compare Mourinho with Saturday's opposite number Louis van Gaal. "Van Gaal sets up teams to attack and thinks offensively. Mourinho's only aim is to win, and he thinks more about defensive organisation. Both are equally strict and both are huge characters. That's critical in football. When they speak, you listen."

A game like no other

All the key personalities will stage a reunion out on the field at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu this weekend. It is the biggest match of the season for all, but despite his delight at the prospect of seeing old friends, Robben emphasised that the trip to Madrid is about one thing only. "I'm not going there on holiday. I want to play well in the final, and win the final." After all, it is a truly significant match for Arjen Robben.
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