Arjen Robben is one of football's most polarizing figures. One week, he’s one of the best footballers in the world. The next week, he’s trying to win FIFA’s most selfish footballer of the year award.
The latter was on show during Euro 2012 and the UEFA Champions League final. On both occasions, his team came up short and his egotism was a talking point.
He became fodder for critics who believed his self-centeredness impeded his Dutch and Bayern Munich teammates.
Here are five problems Robben may face next season.
A teammate of Arjen Robben, who requested to remain anonymous, told De Telegraaf (via Goal.com):
We were happy that Robben missed Champions League final penalty. Imagine how he would have arrived in Netherlands. He would have been even more arrogant and never passed the ball to other teammates.
Arrogance is Robben's petulant actions after being substituted against Germany. He jumped over the adverts and took the long way around the pitch. His actions said: ''I'm Arjen Robben, I should never be subbed off.''
Factor in the fractured Dutch dressing room and it's not surprising that a teammate decided to vent his frustrations about Robben to the press. Dutch football journalist Johan Derksen revealed how divided the squad was:
Gregory van der Wiel was working on everything except football. He has his own clothing line and was working too long on it. Plus, he was working on hip-hop music and was getting his hair done every day. Players hardly saw him without headphones on.
From day one Robin van Persie and Ibrahim Afellay were not part of the group. Afellay is hated in the Dutch camp. He came across as ‘I play for Barcelona, who do you play for?’ He was very arrogant. When it was someone’s birthday, he wouldn’t even chip in €10 for a gift.
The lack of transparency with De Telegraaf's story does create doubt. However, the anonymous source isn't saying anything new, as he's just reinforcing what everyone has known about Robben.
Robben alluded to the anonymous source:
Of course there were some internal issues but we will keep them indoors. We failed together ... We must all, therefore, look in the mirror.
Going forward, the decision to drop him will be made easier if his teammates don't want him in the squad.
Arjen Robben isn't well-liked by his Dutch and Bayern Munich teammates. Last January, he clashed with Thomas Müller.
Robben said after the game:
I hate it when teammates constantly raise their hands and complain. It is disrespectful. We are a team. We don't need to do that. We have got to be role models and should not make things any harder than they are. You should not make such gesticulations.
What part of team is skying shot after shot in the UEFA Champions League final? A bad role model is someone who physically assaults his teammate with the world watching.
That day, Robben was demoralized by the way Müller treated him on the field. Rafinha feels like that every week, with Robben constantly yelling for the ball, yet not tracking back.
Evidently, Franck Ribéry experienced the exact same discontent Robben felt with Müller, which is why the Frenchman punched Robben.
Guess which players are the "3" of the 4-2-3-1 at Bayern Munich? Robben, Müller and Ribéry.
Robben punched Müller and Ribéry punched Robben. Talk about bad team chemistry—no wonder they keep losing to Borussia Dortmund.
If Bayern Munich had to choose to kick one of the three out—they would go with Robben.
Luciano Narsingh is younger, easier to coach, less injury prone, more dynamic and more team-oriented than Arjen Robben.
It's one thing for Carlos Alberto Parreira to not use Ronaldo at the 1994 FIFA World Cup—Brazil didn't need him.
It's another for Bert van Marwijk to inexplicably not start someone as productive and as dangerous as Narsingh—especially when Robben was out of control with his shooting.
Xherdan Shaqiri's extraordinary ability and unwavering belief that he's something special will mean trouble for Arjen Robben.
Shaqiri does have a selfish streak like the Dutchman, as evident in the UEFA Champions League where the Swiss prodigy didn't score a goal from 21 shots.
Unlike Robben, Shaqiri has yet to manhandle Thomas Müller or incur the wrath of Franck Ribéry.
With Bayern Munich, he sustained a torn thigh muscle, twisted his ankle, injured his knee, suffered a hernia and underwent groin surgery.
Another injury could spell the end of his tenure at Bayern Munich.