Friday, August 19, 2022

Arjen Robben Would Be Wise To Continue His Career In The MLS

Juan Pablo Aravena in Bundesliga, Editorial, MLS 27 Apr 2019

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The end of an era is coming in Bayern Munich. Arjen Robben, who scored a decisive goal in the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund, will leave the club once the campaign ends. The winger has been one of Bayern’s best players over the past decade, and there’s no question he will leave a huge void on the squad. Even if he doesn’t have the same ascendancy as he had in the past.

Robben’s contract will expire at the end of the current campaign, but the former Dutch international has been clear on the fact that he’s not going to retire anytime soon. And while both PSV Eindhoven and Groningen are keen to welcome him back – much like Robin van Persie did when he returned to Feyenoord – he might be better suited for another environment. Perhaps a more relaxed one, without the pressure of playing for a big side in a country where football moves mountains.

If Robben does not want to retire, he should entertain the idea of making the move to MLS.

Why would he be wise to make the move stateside

Once a league where older players arrived to retire, the league has been gaining more and more prestige in recent years. And while the competition is not what it once was, it’s still not on the level of a top European league. At best, the MLS could be considered a second-tier European league, but without the fanbase pressure existing in Europe or even in Latin America.

Let’s think about it. If Robben were to join an MLS franchise, he would undoubtedly enter the league with lots of privileges. Despite the league has seen world-class players such as Kaka, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo join in recent years, none has had the career, form, and stature of Robben. Maybe Kaka would come close, but the Kaka version of Orlando City SC was MILES away from that one that used to dazzle the world at AC Milan.

Plus, the Dutchman would probably command a Designated Player contract, which means he wouldn’t be subject to the strict spending rules of the MLS. He could sign for as much money as he would like. This is not a small deal, though. Being honest, this could end up being Robben’s last massive contract. And who wouldn’t like to sign one last big payday? I know I would.

What are other alternatives for Robben in case he DOESN’T join an MLS franchise?

What if Robben does not want to play stateside? For a player of his caliber, there will always be alternatives. The Chinese Super League stands as the obvious one, since many top players have arrived to China in recent years. The Japanese J-League has gained notoriety as well following the arrivals of Lukas Podolski, Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres.

Even the Middle East leagues – Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, just to name a few – could be alternatives. But those truly are “retirement” leagues for a player of Robben’s quality. And that’s only if he doesn’t want to stay in Europe. He could easily try to remain at a high level or even return to the Eredivisie as stated above.

But if we put everything into the mix, then the MLS stands out as the best alternative. It would be a great way to end his excellent career that saw him feature for Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern at his peak.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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