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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dutchmen on the Move: "The Adventures of Bayern and Robben" and Communism in Madrid

            This past Friday, Arjen Robben signed with Bayern Munich from Real Madrid for a fee around 25 million euro, and thus now begin The Adventures of Bayern and Robben.  Robben joins French international Franck Ribery behind the wheel of the Bayern Batmobile, and the two should form a deadly attacking combo, threatening opposition from either side of the pitch.  Like Ribery, Robben has established himself as one of the world’s elite wingers, after successful stints throughout Europe at PSV, Chelsea, and Real Madrid.  Upon his move to Germany, Robben should enjoy punishing crime in the infamously poor Bundesliga defense.

            Indeed, only days after the move, The Adventures of Bayern and Robben have begun.  In this season’s first episode, the Dutchman was brilliant.  As Bayern Munich took on Wolfsburg, Robben entered the game as a second-half substitute and in only a half-hour’s time, netted two goals, both of which were assisted by Ribery.  Largely to the credit of their new attacking duo, Bayern dismantled the defending Bundesliga champs 3-nil.

            Fortunately, for the German giants, Robben’s arrival couldn’t have come at a better time.  The club find themselves in a bit of turmoil, coming off a very disappointing second place domestic finish last season and going winless in their first three games this year, while struggling with the transfer demands of their best player in Ribery.  Robben’s exceptional speed, vision, and distribution and finishing abilities will most definitely bolster Bayern’s attack.  The club also hopes that his partnership with Ribery will keep the Frenchman less dissatisfied this season.

            All in all, expect both Arjen Robben and Bayern Munich to bring out the best in each other.  It should be a big year for both parties.

            Elsewhere in the world of football, Robben’s national counterpart Wesley Sneijder also completed his own transfer across European borders this past week.  This Dutch winger was convinced into joining Inter Milan by Jose Mourinho after it appeared Real Madrid no longer wanted his services either.

            Sneijder looks to be a significant addition to his new club as well.  Mourinho had repeatedly stressed this summer that his team was largely lacking a playmaker.  Well, Wesley Sneijder happens to be quite a playmaker, and now that Inter have their final puzzle piece, they, like Bayern, look a much more potent side.  Unsurprisingly, in Sneijder’s first appearance with his new club, Inter coasted to a 4-0 victory over city rivals AC Milan.

            How funny that with these transfers, Real Madrid now look like the communists of European football: Stealing big names from big clubs and redistributing their outcasts to teams in need.  Robben and Sneijder both had great careers at Real Madrid and it seems mind-blowing to suggest that these two could not find their place in the Real squad.  But unless Francisco Franco has something to say about it, Madrid look poised to continue their offloading. 

            As for the Dutchmen, while having left Madrid for different countries, they now find themselves in very similar situations.  Both Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder arrive at their new clubs as the centerpieces of projects built for a season of improvement.  Thus, we can expect big things from these two this year, and thanks to communism, we can expect big things from their respective clubs as well.

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