Arjen Robben received text messages of congratulations from his former Chelsea team-mates John Terry and Frank Lampard after achieving personal redemption in a major final with the late winner that secured Bayern Munich's fifth European Cup.
The Dutch winger, whose three-year spell at Stamford Bridge ended with his sale to Real Madrid in 2007, had lost two previous Champions League finals and even missed a penalty in extra-time against the Londoners in last year's showpiece at Bayern's Allianz Arena. He had also been a part of the Holland team who were defeated by Spain in the 2010 World Cup final but, after his initial profligacy had suggested more of the same on Saturday, he went on to set up the Bavarians' opener and then scored the last-minute goal that claimed the trophy.
That ensured the nightmarish memories from last year have been exorcised, with Robben leaving Wembley clutching a piece of netting cut from the goal in which he had scored his winner.
"I have put them to sleep," he said. "That is the best thing, the nicest thing about football. If you are down, going through those tough moments, you can still come back. The biggest one was losing the Champions League final in your own stadium, and for the second time, so it is sweet to come back and win it. This is the biggest one, the biggest night of my life for sure, without a doubt. We had spoken about this final for so long, people constantly asking me the question: 'Is this the time you finally win it?' And now I'm done at club level. This is the highest you can achieve. I've won titles in four countries now, and cups, but in the end it is all about the Champions League.
"This was the third time in four years we've been in the final but, at least, now we are in the history books."
Robben's mobile phone buzzed with congratulatory messages after the match. "I've already had some texts from JT and Lamps," he said, with a confrontation with Chelsea – and a reunion with his former manager José Mourinho – to come in next season's European Super Cup in Prague against the Europa League winners.
Robben said: "We've got that match, the Fifa Club World Cup, all those games to look forward to. But we have sent a message to Europe this season. The way we won this competition, especially the quarters and semi-finals by beating Juventus and Barcelona, scoring 11 times and not conceding once, that is unbelievable.
"Let's see what the future brings. I'm really proud to be a part of this team, and I have two years left on my contract here. I'm very happy at this club, and I always have been. We'll let other teams think about how they catch us but, for now, we just enjoy the moment and celebrate."
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image: © Lorenzo Blangiardi