Bayern Munichlegend Arjen Robben considers Pep Guardiola to sit above the likes of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti when it comes to the best coach he has worked with.
He walks away from the game with many happy memories and an enviable collection of medals.
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Asked who would sit at the top of that list, a man with 96 caps for theNetherlandssaid: “That’s difficult, of course. But if you ask me who was the best, I say Pep Guardiola. I enjoyed it most with him. Football-wise, he is simply brilliant.
“When Pep came, I was already 30 years old. You’re just trying to stay constant and not get any worse. But under him I got better again. I suddenly played in different positions where I never thought that I would play. He was the best.”
With Robben gone, Bayern have already moved to bring in players they hope will be suitable successors in the creativity stakes.
Brazilinternational Philippe Coutinho is among those, having arrived via a loan move from Barcelona which includes the option for a €120 million (£110m/$133m) transfer.
On seeing his former No.10 shirt filled by another, Robben said: “I got a very nice call from Brazzo [Hasan Salihamidzic], he told me Coutinho wanted the 10. I replied that I only want the best for the club and if the 10 is good for him, that’s great and they have to do it.
“Coutinho is a world-class player, he will certainly help the club. A super transfer. He will need some time, but with his skills he will go for it.”
Robben will be watching on from afar this season as Coutinho and Co go in search of more major silverware.
He is looking forward to enjoy a relaxing break after escaping the demands of professional football.
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“The decision to stop was very, very difficult for me. But in the end, I think it’s the right one,” said Robben.
“I want to rest and spend more time with the family. It’s also good to have nothing to do with football if you’ve lived as a professional for so long. After a while we’ll have a look.
“I started as a pro at the age of 16, and your life is football for 24 hours a day. The family had to join in and now it’s time to repay them.
“We took full advantage of the holiday. Now the children go back to school and then everyday life starts again.”