Arjen Robben won the hearts of Chelsea fans despite spending only three seasons at the club.
The Dutch international who’s currently with German champions Bayern Munich has written a letter to his younger self and fondly remembers his Chelsea career.
He wrote in his letter to his younger self (Chelsea section):
At 20 years old, you’ll be in the Premier League.
And your boss? His name is José Mourinho. I should prepare you. Because he will expect a lot of you … and of everyone. Right away, you’ll feel the difference in playing for a Premier League club. You’ll need to be tougher, stronger, faster.
You’ll have to prove yourself all over again once you get there. And prove yourself to José every single week to stay in the lineup. Look, a lot has been said about José. He’s a strong personality, he’s demanding. But ever since you started playing, you’ve been just as demanding of yourself. In a way, it’ll almost seem like a perfect match. He wants to see your very best, each and every day on the pitch. And all you’ll want to give is your best. Whether in training, or in a match.
Or working your way back from an injury.
Yes, this is going to be the first time you’re challenged in that way, too. It’s not how you wanted to start off in England … with a broken bone in your foot in a preseason match. You’ll be sidelined for more than two months. But that will only provide more motivation to prove yourself. To prove yourself to José. To your teammates. To Stamford Bridge and the fans.
You’ll want to show everyone what you can do.
And you will, with a 72nd-minute goal in your very first start at Stamford Bridge in November 2004.
It’ll be right in front of the box, off your left foot.
(And by the way, your left foot? Specifically, coming in from the right wing and shooting with your left? Work on this. Practice this. It’ll come in handy more times than you can count. Trust me on this one.)
It’ll only be two years, but Chelsea will be an important step for you. For your manager, for dealing with injuries — but, also, that team will be something special. I give credit to José on this, he knows how to create and build a team. And this team? Well, it was a good one.
Not just because you had players like Lampard and Drogba and Čech and Terry on the pitch.
But because you had players like Lampard and Drogba and Čech and Terry off the pitch as well.
Everyone on that team was thinking about each other. Everyone was thinking about the club. The atmosphere during that time … it was amazing. A lot of the guys who have been at the club for a while will look out for you, but there will be no one more important — not only for you, but for everyone — than John Terry.
What can a Dutch winger learn from an English center back?
The most important thing though, is what it takes to be a captain and a leader at a club. He’ll be someone you can talk to, whether about football or anything else. He’ll be someone who gives advice, who encourages you. Learn as much from him as you can. How he gives everything for the club. How he gives everything for the team — from the first to the last minute. Out there, he’s taking care of every team member. And he does the same off the pitch as well.
I’m not sure you’ll know it then, just how much John influenced you. So really take in those moments with him. You won’t play with anyone quite like him again.
Or have an experience quite like you had at Chelsea. There were titles and cups in Holland, but at Chelsea, you’ll all be part of history. The first league title in 50 years. It’s not going to feel complete at the time because you’ll be injured. But enjoy that moment more than I did then. Appreciate it properly — because you were a part of that team, you were important and you did do your job.
And then help the team win another title the year after.
There will be the next step….