When Arjen Robben steps onto the pitch in Brasilia on Saturday it very well could be the last time that the Bayern Munich man represents his country on soccer’s biggest stage. It is only in the realms of world soccer that we hear that a 30-year old man is coming to the end of his career. For as long as Arjen Robben has played professional soccer he has always been ONE of the best players on the planet. But there is one nagging thing that has always prevented him from being THE best player on the planet. Injuries. It is one of the few words in the world of sport that no athlete hopes to ever hear.

Arjen Robben’s journey started with FC Groningen in 2000 in Holland, where he scored 8 goals in 50 appearances for the club over the span of two years before moving to Dutch powerhouse PSV in 2002. There were two very important things that happened to the crafty winger over his two-year span in Eindhoven. Right from the get go Robben proved that he was one of the best young players in all of Dutch “Voetbal”, but at the same time also quite injury prone.

His first season at Eindhoven was spectacular. During the campaign that saw them win the title, Robben netted 12 goals in 33 matches, winning the “Talented Player Of The Year Award” along the way. It was during his second season there that saw injuries begin to play an impact on his capabilities. He hurt his hamstring twice in the same season and featured in only 23 games before he made his big money move to Chelsea in 2004.

After arriving in London, it wasn’t long until injuries once again began to plague the Dutch winger. Immediately after transferring he injured a metatarsal bone in his right foot that kept him sidelined until November. At the start of his next season in London. he broke his left foot, had calf problems and injured his ankle all in the span of a few months; eventually leading to him to only make 18 appearances for “The Blues” during the 2004 season. Luckily for both Robben and Chelsea fans he had a fantastic 2005 season, coming in second to Wayne Rooney for the “Premier League: Player of the Year Award.” It was short lived though as the 2006-2007 season saw the left footed wizard injury his hamstring on multiple occasions, only to find out that he needed to undergo knee surgery in March.

Roman Abramovic, the filthy rich and controversial owner of Chelsea, had enough of the Dutchman’s injury problems, selling the him to Real Madrid in 2007 for about $42 million (a testament to how much he was worth despite his injury problems). It didn’t end up being the greatest investment by the Spanish giants though as Robben only featured in 50 matches over the span of two years. During his time in the Spanish capitol, the former PSV man had to deal with hamstring, ankle ligament and muscular problems. And when Florentino Perez was named President of the club in 2009, he immediately sold him to Bayern Munich.

Once again, a testimony to how good he was when healthy, Bayern Munich decided to take one more chance on him, splurging €25 million to acquire his services. Despite the Dutchman having to once more deal with injuries throughout his career in the Bavarian capitol, he has become a living legend for his performances over the past five years. He has featured in 106 games for the German giants scoring 56 goals in the process, none more memorable than this one.

The Dutch winger’s talent has been on full display in Brazil once more as he has been at the forefront of Holland’s run to the semifinals. Every fan of soccer that has watched him play knows that he loves to cut the ball onto his left foot so that he can curl it into the far post. So when a defender knows what is coming but still cannot stop it, don’t you think it says something about how talented of a player he actually is?

Who knows what he could have achieved if he were not as injury prone as he was throughout his career. After this World Cup Arjen Robben will go back to Munich to continue his domestic career. Barring any major injuries, Robben will hopefully be able to represent Holland at the Euros in France in two years time and once more in Russia four years from now.

The story of Arjen Robben has always been an emotional tale of ups and downs. At 30 years old who knows how much longer his body is going to hold up. But with modern medicine that can heal players faster than a band-aid heals a cut, who’s to say that the Dutch winger doesn’t have another four years in him. Despite the multitude of injuries that Arjen Robben has faced throughout his career, there is no doubt that he should go down as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.