Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Arjen Robben turns down Al Jazira, club says 'he doesn’t want to play any more'

Reports that the Dutch winger, 35, was on his way to Abu Dhabi to sign for the Abu Dhabi club 'not true'

Former Netherlands international winger Arjen Robben, 35, left Bayern Munich at the end of the 2018/19 season. Reuters
Former Netherlands international winger Arjen Robben, 35, left Bayern Munich at the end of the 2018/19 season. Reuters

Arjen Robben has turned down the opportunity to join Arabian Gulf League club Al Jazira.

The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich winger, 35, decided not to renege on his decision last week to retire from football, although Jazira had pushed hard to convince him to continue a professional career spanning 19 years.

On Wednesday, reports emerged that the 2016/17 UAE champions were on the verge of sealing a deal for Robben, with some even suggesting he was on his way to Abu Dhabi to sign a contract. Those, however, were incorrect.

Jazira contacted Robben’s representatives again on Thursday, yet were told his decision was final. He is believed to have offers also from China and the United States.

Asked about the rumours Robben had signed, Jazira chief executive Ayed Mabkhout told The National: “I don’t know from where this news came from. To be honest, we asked the player, but he doesn’t want to play any more – that’s it. I read yesterday that he was already here in Abu Dhabi, or that he’d signed, or that his flight was delayed by 50 minutes. So a lot of stories, but it’s not true.”

Robben won 12 league titles, including eight at Bayern, and also lifted the Uefa Champions League crown with the Bavarian club in 2013. His contract concluded last month. Robben represented the Netherlands 96 times, including during the 2010 World Cup final.

Jazira remain in the market for foreign reinforcements, though, having allowed Brazilian forward Leonardo and Dutch midfielder Nacer Barazite to depart. On Sunday they signed Brazilian forward Keno from Pyramids FC on a season-long loan – there is an option to buy – but doubts surround the futures of Cameroon midfielder Sebastien Sani and Ghana winger Ernest Asante. The club have received two offers for the latter, including one from another UAE side.

Last season, Jazira finished fifth in the Arabian Gulf League. They have since replaced manager Damien Hertog with Dutch compatriot Jurgen Streppel.

Updated: July 12, 2019 08:54 AM

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