Former Netherlands manager Bert van Marwijk insists that he would rather have Arjen Robben in his team than either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Robben, 30, proved the standout contributor to the Oranje’s run to the World Cup semi-finals this summer, recording three goals and an assist in seven games, while earing rave reviews for his performances.
The Bayern Munich winger missed out on the Golden Ball, however, with Messi ultimately taking home the tournament’s top individual accolade, despite a poor outing in the 1-0 extra-time final defeat to the Germans.
Nevertheless, with the former Chelsea ace also getting off to a hot start to the Bundesliga campaign, Van Marwijk maintains that his ex-talisman is superior to both the Barcelona superstar and in-form Ballon d’Or-holder Ronaldo.
‘If I'm a coach and I could choose Messi, Ronaldo or Robben, I'd choose Robben,’ he told AD.
‘Out of the three players, he's the most complete. Robben is ahead of Ronaldo and Messi in that regard but not everyone sees that. The focus is on goals and attacking.
‘I get the idea that this is the thinking for individual prizes like the Ballon d'Or.’
Van Marwijk also points to how Robben recovered from missing an extra-time spot-kick in the 2011-12 Champions League final defeat to Chelsea as a sure sign of his resilience, having returned with the club next season to net a late-winner in the 2-1 dispatching of league rivals Borussia Dortmund.
‘How long ago was it that he was booed in his own stadium? We played there in 2012 with Netherlands against Bayern and he couldn't do anything right,’ he remarked. ‘Look what he did afterwards. That makes him very special.’