Arjen Robben lasted just 30 minutes on his Eredivisie comeback as Groningen went down 3-1 to PSV.

Robben – making his first appearance in the Dutch top flight in over 16 years – was named in Groningen's starting XI for Sunday's clash against another of his former sides.

The ex-Real Madrid and Chelsea winger announced his retirement after leaving Bayern Munich in 2019, but signed with his boyhood club for the 2020-21 season.

However, the 36-year-old was on the pitch for half-an-hour before he trudged off with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.

PSV took the lead four minutes later – Cody Gakpo putting the visitors ahead with a crisp finish.

Tomas Suslov equalised shortly after the break, yet Donyell Malen, who later missed a penalty, restored the advantage before Gakpo rounded off the win for PSV.

Arjen Robben was given the nod to break a record set by Robin van Persie as he was named in Groningen's team for their Eredivisie clash with PSV.

Former Netherlands star Robben announced his retirement from football in 2019 after leaving Bayern Munich.

However, in an attempt to help Groningen recover from the impact of COVID-19, the veteran winger confirmed he would be returning to the club where he began his career for the 2020-21 season.

On Sunday, the 36-year-old was named in Groningen's XI for their first league match of the campaign, which saw him overtake his old Oranje team-mate Van Persie in the Eredivisie record books.

Robben's Eredivisie comeback, against another of his former teams, comes after an absence of 16 years and 155 days from the Dutch league.

Van Persie spent 13 years and 267 days away from the Eredivisie between his two spells at Feyenoord, which was previously the longest time between appearances in the competition.

Groningen finished ninth in the Eredivisie last season, with the campaign cut short due to coronavirus.

Arjen Robben made his first appearance since coming out of retirement to rejoin Groningen and wants to feature in all 34 of their Eredivisie games, though he acknowledges it is unlikely.

Former Netherlands international Robben hung up his boots following the 2018-19 season but signed for his boyhood club in June to help them out amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After making himself unavailable for selection for a friendly against PEC Zwolle last week, the 36-year-old returned to the pitch for the first time in 15 months in a 1-1 draw with Almere City on Saturday.

Ex-Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Chelsea winger Robben partnered Mohamed El Hankouri up front in a 3-5-2 formation but regularly floated wide to the right.

He displayed some neat touches before being replaced by Ramon Pascal Lundqvist just after the half-hour mark, as had been agreed pre-match.

"It was nice to play a match again. That's what you do it for," Robben told FOX Sports.

"I want to help Groningen, but not only with the sale of season tickets or shirts, also on the pitch.

"I have come a long way and I am far from there yet. But I am making good steps and this half hour was nice.

"It was quite special, but I just wanted to concentrate on doing my thing. The most important thing is to keep fit. We'll see. It is also the combination of not playing football for a year and age. I have to catch up now.

"I would prefer to play all 34 league matches, but no doubt that will not happen. I will not be there a few times."

In his 19 previous seasons in professional football, Robben did not once feature in every game of a league campaign. His best was 33 Eredivisie appearances with PSV in 2002-03.

Groningen are scheduled to start their 2020-21 league campaign on September 13 against PSV.

Arjen Robben will not make his first appearance for Groningen against PEC Zwolle on Friday after he requested not to be considered for selection.

Former Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Chelsea star Robben came out of retirement and signed a one-year contract with his boyhood club Groningen, who he wanted to help amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 36-year-old winger was expected to feature against Zwolle but will not take part after feeling the effects of an intense week of training.

"I want to get even fitter before I start competitions. I had a very good training week, where I was able to do things to 100 per cent," Robben told Groningen's official website.

"I'm really in a good position, but playing a match is completely different to training. After not having played football for a year, it is logical that you will experience some complaints.

"That is part of the effort you make. The body responds to training, your body has to get used to it again. That is going well, but I thought it was still insufficient to play.

"I also want to feel 100 per cent that I am ready for competitions. For that, I want to complete more group training first."

Head coach Danny Buijs said: "Arjen has pushed the boundaries in his training programme last week and touched the limit.

"The efforts he has made in the past week have led to some mild physical complaints in the form of muscle pain and stiffness. It's very understandable for a player of his age who has not played for a year, but a reason for us not to take any risks.

"We repeat what we have said before: there is a greater purpose. We want to get and keep Arjen as fit as possible for matches. If he can play a role for us in as many matches as possible next season, we will be satisfied."

Groningen are scheduled to start their 2020-21 Eredivisie campaign on September 13 against PSV, another of Robben's former clubs.

Rafael van der Vaart hopes Harry Kane remains at Tottenham, allowing the England international to continue working with a "great coach" in Jose Mourinho.

The striker returned from a hamstring injury suffered at the start of 2020 to help Spurs finish in sixth place in the Premier League, securing the north London club a spot in next season's Europa League as a result.

Kane, 27, scored five goals in his final three outings to finish the campaign with 24 in all competitions, though he had sparked speculation over his future earlier in the year when admitting he would not stay at his boyhood club "for the sake of it".

However, Van der Vaart - who spent two years with Spurs - believes Kane does not have to leave in his pursuit to win trophies.

"I really hope that he's going to stay," Van der Vaart - an ambassador for the UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour - told Stats Perform News.

"I hope he's going to stay. Spurs have a great coach.

"It's a club that want to be a championship winner, and the Champions League. They can also pay the money.

"For me, the best thing is for Harry to stay."

While Van der Vaart wants Kane to continue in familiar surroundings, he is delighted to see a famous former Netherlands team-mate return to his roots.

Former Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben announced in July his decision to come out of retirement and sign a deal with Groningen – the club where the winger started his illustrious career.

"It's great. I really love it, because I think it's important for the Dutch league," Van der Vaart said of Robben's return.

"Robben is a great guy. He is so professional. He is still so fit. I always thought, 'Why did he stop?', because football is the best thing you can do.

"He stopped at Bayern Munich, but now it's so important that he's starting again and to go back home, to his former club.

"It's going to be different. He's always played for teams when, 80 per cent of the time, they were better than the opponent, but now you go to Groningen and maybe it's 50-50. That is a different way of playing."

Van der Vaart was speaking as part of this year's Europa League Trophy Tour, which has been collecting football boots from fans for Syrian refugees based in Jordan.

Groningen used clips from 'The Last Dance' to inspire Arjen Robben to return to his boyhood club.

It was confirmed on Saturday that Robben had agreed to come out of retirement and sign for Groningen, where the former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich winger came through the ranks in 2000.

Robben retired last year following another Bundesliga-winning season with Bayern, with Groningen failing in a bid to sign him soon after.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday, Groningen technical director Mark-Jan Fledderus said: "We first went to Munich to speak to him about coming to play for us, just days after he retired in May last year.

"That didn't happen. But we kept up contact and then arranged secretly with his wife to travel down and talk to him again last month.

"On May 21 I drove to Munich at the invitation of [Robben's wife] Bernadien. We surprised Arjen there. It was a great moment.

"We ordered sushi from their favourite restaurant and we made a compilation of footage from the documentary 'The Last Dance' and footage of Robben.

"We then said that the best way to help our club was to play football with us."

While Robben is unlikely to reach similar heights to those documented in the series about Michael Jordan and his final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98, he is relishing the challenge of returning to Eredivisie action.

"I'm here to help the club," Robben said.

"You do that by showing the right attitude. I don't have anything to lose and I'm going into the challenge with a positive attitude and to try to make the best of it.

"I haven't set any goals, it could be over in a month or it could last two years."

On his wife's support for the decision to come out of retirement, he added: "It made the decision a lot easier knowing I had the support of my family.

"Retiring was the toughest decision of my career, maybe a little forced upon me with all the injuries.

"We decided to stay a year in Munich to enjoy the city and get used to the idea of not playing football. I didn't watch much for about six months and really enjoyed doing other things.

"But eventually the sports lover in you starts to nag and I had been training to run the Rotterdam Marathon before the coronavirus crisis."

Groningen were ninth when the Eredivisie season was brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic. It was later cancelled with no champion declared and no teams relegated.

The 2020-21 campaign is expected to begin in September.

Arjen Robben's retirement lasted just a single season, as the Netherlands and Bayern Munich great announced on Saturday he is to return to boyhood club Groningen for the 2020-21 campaign.

Robben, 36, brought an illustrious playing career to an end last July shortly after his 10-year spell with Bayern came to an end.

Although at the time he was linked with a potential return to the team that gave him his professional debut, Robben - who suffered with numerous injury problems throughout his career - opted to retire.

But now he looks set to return, not only to top-tier football, but at the place where it all began.

In honour of Robben's return to his first club, we identified some other high-profile players who went to finish their careers back home.

Juan Roman Riquelme - Argentinos Juniors

Perhaps more synonymous with Boca Juniors, where he made his professional debut and also spent most of his final years, Riquelme also had a strong affinity with Argentinos Juniors. He came through the club's academy in the early-to-mid 1990s, before then finishing his immense career at Estadio Diego Maradona in 2014, having also played for Barcelona, Villarreal and Argentina. Although the iconic attacking midfielder appeared close to joining Paraguay's Cerro Porteno the following year, the move never materialised.

Dirk Kuyt - Quick Boys

Kuyt briefly came out of retirement two years ago to help Quick Boys, with whom he spent 13 years as a youth. Playing in the Derde Divisie Saturday league, Kuyt was already working as assistant at the time, but made himself available for selection during a striker shortage and he made three appearances. The former Netherlands and Liverpool forward had retired the year before following a second spell with Feyenoord, where he had made his initial breakthrough in the mid-2000s, his form at the time earning a move to Anfield.

Rafael Marquez - Atlas

One of Mexico's greatest players, Marquez's longevity at such a high level was nothing short of incredible, as he accumulated 147 international caps. After breaking into the Atlas team as a teenager having come through their academy, the elegant centre-back enjoyed a sparkling career in Europe, winning 14 titles across spells with Monaco and Barcelona. Time with New York Red Bulls, Leon and Hellas Verona followed, before a final two-year stint back at the Jalisco ended in 2018. Although plagued by off-field allegations towards the end of his career, Marquez went on to become the club's sporting president, before standing down last year to focus on other areas of the sport.

Juan Pablo Angel - Atletico Nacional

Angel perhaps never quite lived up to the expectations he set during his early days as part of River Plate's so-called 'Fantastic Four' with Javier Saviola, Ariel Ortega and Pablo Aimar, having joined from Colombia's Nacional. Nevertheless, he became a fan favourite at Aston Villa in the Premier League, before spending six years in MLS with New York Red Bulls, Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA. In 2013 he returned to Nacional for two seasons, having left them in 1997. He called it quits in late 2014, just a few days after losing to his former club River in the final of the Copa Sudamericana. "I am ending my career with a final between the two clubs I love the most," he said.

Henrik Larsson - Hogaborgs

While the Swedish club most may associate with Larsson is Helsingborgs, he actually made the breakthrough at a smaller side – Hogaborgs. It was here where he trained from the age of six, before eventually becoming a regular in the senior side and earning a move to Helsingborgs. A trophy-laden career followed, taking him to Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United. Although he retired in 2009, he returned to the pitch for Raa in the Swedish third tier three years later, before then finding himself back in the team at Hogaborgs in 2013, helping out due to an injury crisis despite him only previously being registered to a casual team for 'seniors'. This gave him the chance to play alongside his son, Jordan.

Carlos Tevez - Boca Juniors

The Tevez-Boca love affair has dominated most of the striker's successful and complex career. After coming through their youth ranks, the feisty forward was seen as the heir to Maradona. A brief stint in Brazil with Corinthians followed, but Europe had long since beckoned, even if West Ham was by no means the expected destination. He went on to play for Manchester United and Manchester City, increasing tension between the clubs, before then going to Juventus, but throughout this time Tevez seemed to long for a return to Boca. He went back to La Bombonera in 2015, his homecoming interrupted by a brief spell with Shanghai Shenhua in 2017 in the Chinese Super League, though even Tevez acknowledged he saw his time in China as a "holiday". "He filled Santa's sack with dollars and now he has returned to Boca" was Maradona's assessment upon 'El Apache's' return from the CSL.

Former Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Chelsea winger Arjen Robben has come out of retirement to sign for Eredivisie side Groningen.

The 36-year-old had called time on his illustrious career after helping Bayern Munich win a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in 2018-19.

However, a change of heart has led the former Netherlands international to making a sentimental return to the club where he started his career for the 2020-21 season.

Robben, who had been spotted training with Bayern recently, explained he wants to play his part in helping Groningen recover following the coronavirus pandemic.

"I was 12 years old when I started playing in FC Groningen's youth academy," he told their website.

"I made my home debut against Feyenoord when I was 16. After two years I made a transfer to PSV Eindhoven. After a wonderful adventure of 18 years, we're coming home, back to Groningen.

"We're coming home during this difficult time or crisis, one that also hit FC Groningen. It's great to see how everyone is supporting the club. I've supported the club as well and it made me think about what else I could do for our club.

"These past few weeks, I've had many conversations with club staff and, maybe more than anything, I've listened to the call of our supporters, 'Arjen, follow your heart'.

"A comeback, as an FC Groningen player, I started to play with this idea, and now I've made it my mission.

"I want to make my comeback as a football player, a player of FC Groningen.

"At this time, I'm not sure it will happen. What I am sure of is that my drive and motivation will be at 100 per cent.

"It will be a tough physical challenge but I'm going for it. I am going to work hard and when everything feels right, I will join the team for the first training of the new season."

Robben made his professional debut with Groningen in 2000 and spent two seasons there before joining PSV, where he won a league title in the 2002-03 season.

He won further championships in England, Spain and Germany with Chelsea, Madrid and Bayern respectively, in the process becoming one of the world's best wide players.

Robben also scored the winning goal in the 2013 Champions League final, as Bayern overcame Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley to complete a historic treble.

He won 96 caps for Netherlands, scoring 37 times, and was part of the Dutch team that was beaten in the 2010 World Cup final by Spain in South Africa.

Arjen Robben has described former Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola as the "master of offensive football" and says the Catalan is the best coach in the world.

Former Netherlands international Robben, who announced his retirement from football last July, spent three seasons playing under Guardiola during his decade with Bayern.

The 36-year-old was brought to Bavaria by Louis van Gaal and also worked with Carlo Ancelotti, Jupp Heynckes and Niko Kovac at the Allianz Arena, as well as Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

But Robben feels that Guardiola is the coach who helped him to improve the most, with the pair sharing the same ideology of how the game should be played.

"I love football and, above all, the offensive football – and Pep is a master at it," he told Socrates magazine.

"He focused on attack and total ball control. Of course, I particularly liked that. We were on the same wavelength.

"He made sure that I became more complete. For me, Pep is the best coach in the world. The three years with him in Munich were extremely instructive."

Robben joined Bayern from Real Madrid in 2009 and won 20 major honours, including a memorable Champions League triumph in 2013 when scoring a late winner against Borussia Dortmund in the final to secure the treble.

However, he was not sure at the time whether swapping Madrid for Bayern would be a good choice for him.

"Back then, my only wish was to win the Champions League and Bayern was not one of the top clubs in Europe," he said. "But I took the risk and it was worth it.

"It was really not an easy decision for me at the time. But going to Bayern was the best of my career in retrospect."

Former Bayern Munich and Netherlands winger Arjen Robben acknowledged there was a period when the idea of reversing his retirement decision "tickled" him.

Robben brought his playing career to a halt at the end of the 2018-19 season after spending an immensely successful 10 years with Bayern.

In that time, he won eight Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokal crowns and the Champions League once, playing a key role in many of those triumphs.

Robben suffered with injury problems through much of his career and it came as little surprise – despite reports of a potential return to the Eredivisie – when he announced his retirement in July after his release by Bayern.

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson compared Juventus signing Dejan Kulusevski to Dutch great Arjen Robben.

Kulusevski is set to join Serie A champions Juve permanently at the end of the coronavirus-hit 2019-20 season after signing a four-and-a-half-year contract in January.

The 19-year-old Sweden international has remained on loan at Parma, where he was sent by Atalanta at the start of the campaign.

Andersson heaped praise on the highly rated midfielder – who was signed by Juve for an initial €35million – likening him to former Bayern Munich star Robben.

"Considering his pace, his ball control and his finishing, I see him as similar to Robben," Andersson told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Andersson added: "Dejan hasn't been with us for long, but has already shown he has great potential.

"He works hard and is very quick. If he continues like this, he will be in the Sweden squad for many years to come. A coach always appreciates a player who can take on multiple roles and it'll be very interesting to see his tactical evolution. As things stand now, I think he's perfect as a winger.

"Kulusevski really lives for football and puts the work in. If I need to find a reason for his rapid ascent, that would be it. He's still young, but I hope he is ready for Juventus. As a national team coach, you always want your players in the top teams and I think he can really grow in Juve's current system.

"Italian football is an excellent place to learn about football in all its forms. In Sweden, we do learn about tactics quite young and that helps provide the foundations."

As elite football around the world is placed on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, FIFA has stepped up to try and fill the void by delving into its World Cup archive.

Using its official YouTube channel, a number of famous World Cup encounters will be replayed in full for the enjoyment of the football-starved faithful.

Saturday's offering was the unforgettable group stage encounter between Spain and Netherlands at Brazil 2014, where the reigning world and European champions were obliterated 5-1 as Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben turned on the style.

We decided to take a trip down memory lane and watch along.

REPEAT OR REVENGE?

Netherlands were granted a swift World Cup reunion with Spain, opening their 2014 campaign against the nation who inflicted extra-time heartache upon them in the 2010 final.

Andres Iniesta's winning goal in Johannesburg stood as the high-watermark of a glorious era – that ultimate triumph flanked by successes at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.

Vicente del Bosque's team entered Salvador's Fonte Nova Arena having made a strong case for being the greatest international team in history, with few giving Netherlands – under a Manchester United-bound Louis van Gaal much of a chance.

SPAIN'S ILLUSION OF CONTROL

When the reputations of historically significant teams and players are so entrenched, the mind can play tricks.

A sketchy recollection of this match suggested Spain being ahead, in control and toying with their prey until Van Persie's astonishing goal for the ages. Sure, Iniesta, David Silva, Xavi and the rest certainly had their moments, but in hindsight some of the writing was on the wall.

Van Gaal strung his men out in a 3-4-3, with the defensive and midfield blocks operating conservatively but far enough away from goal to prevent Spain's assortment of magicians from entering those pockets of space in the final third where they can do so much damage.

The Dutch also sought to stretch the pitch against a team craving command of central areas. It was a ploy that paid off and also pointed the way for how Antonio Conte's Italy would end Spain's European reign in Paris two years later.

Robben was frustrated by the offside flag a couple of times in the first half but was clearly intent on damaging a Spain backline that could not match him for pace, while Wesley Sneijder drew an excellent early save from Iker Casillas.

Still, Xabi Alonso put Spain ahead from the penalty spot and Jasper Cillessen just managed to keep out a Silva chip – on the end of an Iniesta throughball you'd ideally woo, take to dinner and settle down with  - proved the game's sliding doors moment.

OHHHH, ROBIN VAN PERSIE

If, in that metaphor, Cillessen kept the sliding doors open, Van Persie launched a gleeful swallow dive through them moments later to sensationally equalise.

The Netherlands' leveller is still a goal that looks a little disorientating. Daley Blind's assist came from barely inside the Spain half on the left flank.

The pass was raking but overhit, not that it dissuaded the hero of the hour. Van Persie, back arched, propelled himself towards the ball and somehow managed a stunned contact. Instead of flying 20 rows back into the stand, the ball gently arced over a helpless Casillas.

From that moment and throughout the Oranje's run to the semi-finals, the imaginations of Manchester United fans were collectively fired. Van Gaal and Van Persie together week in, week out. Oh my, the possibilities…

As it happened, Van Persie had signed for Fenerbahce 13 months later as Van Gaal stoically withstood Old Trafford's pleas to "Attack! Attack! Attack!".

ARJEN BEING SERIOUS?

It truly is hard to square the torpor of Van Gaal's United reign with this visceral dismantling of a beleaguered Spain.

If the first half belonged to Van Persie for his moment of ingenuity, the second was all about Robben's high-octane masterclass.

There were shades of Dennis Bergkamp when he took down a more measured Blind pass with the outside of his left boot, checked inside Gerard Pique with his right and slammed past Casillas to give the Netherlands the lead.

With number five, the Bayern Munich winger brought the house down. Sneijder steered a pass from deep in Dutch territory into his direction and it was a case of run Robben, run as the crowd roared, baying for more blood.

After charging beyond the Spain defence, Robben sat Casillas down and then delayed his shot – seemingly for the satisfaction of making the goalkeeping great scramble around on the floor a little more.

Recalling Robben at the peak of his powers is a reminder of how he is one of a small group of players who must sometimes rue existing at the same time as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. At his best he was one of the very, very best.

LOCALS GUFFAW AT COSTA STRUGGLES

Glorious as Spain's whirring, frictionless football was to behold at times, they were a side who sometimes lacked cutting edge. Fernando Torres' powers had waned and they started all of the knockout games at Euro 2012 without a recognised striker.

Diego Costa's muscular forward play inspired Atletico Madrid to a phenomenal 2013-14 LaLiga success and his decision to switch allegiance to Spain from his native Brazil appeared to solve something approaching a problem.

Not that the locals saw it this way, as Costa's every contribution against the Netherlands received howling boos, including his easy tumble over Stefan de Vrij to win the penalty Alonso dispatched.

That was as good as it got for a man still struggling for fitness after limping out of Atleti's Champions League final loss to Real Madrid. One early attempt to capitalise on a Silva pass had an air of Frankenstein's monster.

For those playing retrospective Diego Costa Bingo, he was fortunate the officials missed an attempted headbutt on Bruno Martins Indi before making way to mass mirth. A stop-start international career that stands at 24 appearances and 10 goals has never fully shaken this humiliation.

EVERYONE REMEMBERS THE SPANISH CAPITULATION

No dynasty, even one built upon majestic deeds, can survive an ordeal such as that wrought by Robben, Van Persie and the rest.

Casillas found himself caught out under the ball when De Vrij bundled in Sneijder's free-kick for the Dutch's third and another error presented Van Persie, who also rattled the crossbar, with his second.

A personal recovery from Spain's all-time record appearance-maker prevented further punishments, with a stupendous double save thwarting substitute Georginio Wijnaldum and Robben on the volley as the game ended in waves of Dutch attacks and oles from their supporters.

Del Bosque's man staggered punch into another evisceration at the hands of Marcelo Bielsa's Chile and their World Cup defence was over in two matches.

Alonso, Xavi and David Villa all bade farewell to international football after the tournament. The latter briefly returned, while Spain have shed Casillas, Pique, Silva, Iniesta and other members of their golden generation since.

Limp exits at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup suggest scars of Salvador are yet to leave their collective consciousness.

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