Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Robben's Main Target; Dutch Star Desperate to Stay Fit So He Can Feel like Real Winner

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Robben's Main Target; Dutch Star Desperate to Stay Fit So He Can Feel like Real Winner

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT HUGHES

GIVEN his experience on his last visit to America winger Arjen Robben could have been forgiven for quietly leaving his passport at home.

Just as Chelsea fans were beginning to appreciate the full extent of the startling new talent in the midst on last year's summer tour of the USA, the Dutchman was suddenly taken from them, his ankle shattered by a thuggish tackle from Roma's Olivier Dacourt in a non-too-friendly match in Pittsburgh.

Mateja Kezman was sent off for retaliation in the ensuing scuffle - the concern for his colleague arguably the most positive aspect of his sorry season at Stamford Bridge.

Robben recovered to play a full part in Chelsea's charge for the championship but two further foot injuries later his season ended as it had begun, hobbling off the pitch head bowed. The sight of the 21-year-old limping around Anfield as Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool seemed to demonstrate that the champions had run out of steam, a view confirmed by this week's [pounds sterling]21million purchase of Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Robben deservedly collected a Premiership winner's medal having inspired some of Chelsea's best performances of the season, but his overriding memory of his first season in England is one of disappointment. A wonderfully gifted winger he may be, but he claims he doesn't feel like a winner.

Robben said: "Last year was just bad luck and it was a difficult season for me. I was very frustrated by the injuries and I hope to stay fit for all of the season. It was a strange season and I didn't really feel like a winner.

"It was very disappointing to end the season without playing games, but for me, fortunately, I played two games for the national team. That's why I'm so pleased to be back on the field. My main target is to play games and stay fit, that's all I can ask for. …

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