Robben key to Real revival

January 6, 2009

Real Madrid have suffered a flurry of criticism in recent times for some disappointing, and expensive, forays into the transfer market (Fernando Gago and Rafael van der Vaart to name two).

But the recruitment of Arjen Robben from Chelsea for a reported 36 million euros in August 2007 seems finally to be paying off, with the Dutch winger in the form of his life.

He scored another superb goal against Villarreal at the Bernabeu on Sunday, securing a 1-0 victory for the champions, and said it was the best he had scored since his move to the Spanish capital.

 “I am feeling happy right now,” he told Tuesday’s As newspaper. “Finally I can show how I play.”

The problem for Real is that when Robben is absent, which is not a rare occurrence due to an unfortunate habit of getting injured or suspended, the team lacks momentum going forward.

They seem, in fact, a bit like the current Chelsea side and the Londoners may be regretting their decision to let Robben leave.

“When he is injured you notice it quite a lot,” Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas told reporters on Monday when asked about Robben’s recent form.

“He is a very important player for us, electric, fast and throws the opposition off balance. We have to look after him a lot and we hope he doesn’t injure himself because I am sure he will do great things and help the team a lot.”

With the Dutchman in the side, Real can look and play like champions. Without him they can look pretty ordinary.

PHOTO: Real Madrid’s Arjen Robben celebrates his goal during their La Liga match against Villarreal at the Bernabeu, Jan. 4, 2009. REUTERS/Juan Medina

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