FC Bayern München winger Arjen Robben has revealed that he “initially did not want to leave” Real Madrid, saying it was the toughest decision of his career.
The 32-year-old was in the prime of his career when the Bavarians made their interest known, and following a number of number of high-profile signings, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso, Los Blancos were looking to balance their books.
As such, they welcomed Bayern’s interest in the Netherlands international, a situation that Robben did not initially welcome.
However, he was eventually convinced to make the move to the Allianz Arena due to their strong interest and manager Louis van Gaal’s presence at the club.
“It was a bit of a weird summer with the return of Florentino Perez as president,” he told Fox Sports. “And then all the new signings arrived.
“Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso all came to Madrid for a huge amount of money.
“We were told that the club would be able to make some money on me if they sold me. But I initially did not want to leave.
“I had possibly my best pre-season ever, but I still did not get a chance, so I had to make a decision.
“There was contact with Bayern, but it was a difficult decision, the most difficult one of my career. Bayern were not among the European elite at that moment – like we are now – and it was a step back for me.
“I went for it in the end, because the club did everything within their power to sign me. And the presence of Louis van Gaal obviously played a role as well.
“I am a real Bayern man now, I am into my eighth season here and I have become a part of this club.”
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