Bert van Marwijk says that the Dutchman’s all-round quality is often overlooked because his goalscoring stats are not as good as the Barca and Madrid stars
Former Netherlands boss Bert van Marwijk says he would rather have Arjen Robben in his team than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Dutchman was in sublime form for his country throughout the World Cup as Oranje made the semi-finals, but was pipped to the best player of the tournament award by the Barcelona forward, who finished second with Argentina.
However, Van Marwijk says that his former charge is superior to both the 27-year-old and the Ballon d’Or winner, who has started the season with a bang for Real Madrid.
“If I’m a coach and I could choose Messi, Ronaldo or Robben, I’d choose Robben,” he told AD.
“Out of the three players, he’s the most complete. Robben ahead of Ronaldo and Messi in that regard but not everyone sees that. The focus is on goals and attacking.
“I get the idea that this is the thinking for individual prizes like the Ballon d’Or.”
Robben infamously missed a penalty for Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 2012 and was jeered by the Bavarians’ fans days later when he represented his country against his club in a friendly.
Van Marwijk says his response since then, including the winning goal in the showpiece a year later, shows his strength of character.
“How long ago was it that he was booed in his own stadium? We played there in 2012 with Netherlands against Bayern and he couldn’t do anything right.
“Look what he did afterwards. That makes him very special.”