Arjen Robben’s glittering career has taken him to pretty much the top of the tree everywhere he’s played.
So it says a lot about the people at Chelsea that he earmarks his spell at Stamford Bridge in the mid 00s as one of the most enjoyable and enriching in his development.
Robben joined the Blues from PSV in 2004 and, despite being blighted by injuries, formed a fearsome wing duo with Damien Duff that helped fire the west Londoners to their first league titles in over 50 years.
But one man really stands out for praise from the Dutchman.
John Terry gets a lot of bad stick – some of it rightly so – but nobody can doubt his importance to the club and his role in returning them to the top table.
And in a candid interview with The Players’ Tribune titled ‘A letter to my younger self’, Robben eulogises about his former captain.
Firstly, the flying Dutchman name-drops Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech as his idols at the club.
“Chelsea will be an important step for you,” he says.
“I give credit to José on this, he knows how to create and build a team. And this team? Well, it was a good one.
“Not just because you had players like Lampard and Drogba and Cech and Terry on the pitch.
“But because you had players like Lampard and Drogba and Cech and Terry off the pitch as well.
“A lot of the guys who have been at the club for a while will look out for you, but there will be no one more important — not only for you, but for everyone — than John Terry.”
But then Robben chooses to really hone in on Terry – and it makes for an extremely powerful testimony.
He adds: “What can a Dutch winger learn from an English centre back? Everything.
“The most important thing though, is what it takes to be a captain and a leader at a club. He’ll be someone you can talk to, whether about football or anything else.
“He’ll be someone who gives advice, who encourages you. Learn as much from him as you can. How he gives everything for the club.
“How he gives everything for the team — from the first to the last minute. Out there, he’s taking care of every team member. And he does the same off the pitch as well.
“I’m not sure you’ll know it then, just how much John influenced you. So really take in those moments with him. You won’t play with anyone quite like him again.”
Captain, leader, legend.
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