Robben: Fitness problems finally behind me

The winger says that, at 30 years of age, he feels in better physical condition than ever before, while he is immensely proud of Netherlands’ third-place finish at Brazil 2014

Arjen Robben has hailed 2014 as the “fantastic” year in which he finally put his persistent injury issues behind him.

The Dutchman has long been considered one of the most lethal attacking talents in the game but he has been beset by fitness problems throughout his career.

However, after helping Bayern Munich claim a domestic double last season before then inspiring Netherlands to a third-place finish at the World Cup, Robben feels in better shape than ever before.

“Physical it’s going very well for a long period,” the 30-year-old told De Telegraaf. “Every now and then I must save myself for one or two games, but I don’t have serious injuries anymore where you are six or seven weeks out.

“I’m very satisfied with and happy about 2014, because I was able to stay on the pitch for the whole year. Then, you can have fun and show your best self. When you’re in a certain rhythm, you get stronger and better.

“Personally, it was a fantastic year. Also with the Dutch national team we had a fantastic year. It is all about one thing: the tournament. And we played a fantastic World Cup. Far above expectations.

“The belief in the team; the team spirit took care of that. The team’s development is what I enjoyed the most. With each other, for each other. It sounds like a cliche, but it’s just right.”

Netherlands’ World Cup hopes were dashed by an agonising penalty shootout defeat to Argentina in the semi-finals but Robben remains philosophical about his Brazil 2014 heartbreak.

“More than anyone else I know how close joy and sadness are,” Robben added. “That’s part of the sport. Not only in football, but in every sport.”