Bayern Munich’s treble-winning coach Jupp Heynckes has paid tribute to Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery as the iconic pair bid farewell to the Bundesliga’s record champions.
‘Robbery’ signed off their illustrious stints with Bayern by helping them complete a domestic double thanks to last Saturday’s DFB Cup final victory over RB Leipzig after contributing a combined 10 goals to the league title triumph, including two in the Matchday 34 clincher against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The pair were also integral when Bayern went one step further under Heynckes in 2012/13 when they also added the UEFA Champions League to their long list of honours thanks to victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Wembley final.
Watch: A fitting farewell to ‘Robbery’
Heynckes coached the pair in his last three spells at Bayern boss, and told kicker the secret to their stunning success over nearly a decade together in the Bavarian giants’ instantly recognisable red shirt.
“They were driven by a boyish joy for football, undying passion and the limitless fun which is inherent in street footballers,” explained Heynckes, who was replaced by Niko Kovac when he returned to retirement after taking Bayern to another Meisterschale — his fourth as a coach — in 2017/18.
‘They set new standards’
“It was thanks to these qualities they were able to interpret wing play in such a sustained and innovative way.”
He added: “They set new standards. Franck with his high speed dance-like dribbles, like a slalom; Arjen, his gaze set ahead, bursting forward and then cutting inside with the ‘Robben move’, to send the ball into the right or left top corner.”
Robben and Ribery spent nearly a decade alongside each other at Bayern Munich. – 2009 Getty Images
Like in any working relationship, the three did not always see eye-to-eye.
While Heynckes had to battle to convince a disgruntled Robben he had to slam on the brakes as the Dutchman raced to get back into action after injury — “Players have no understanding of that,” says the ex-Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen boss — he fell out with Ribery during a DFB Cup game in 2011.
“He has something rebellious in him. He’s a street fighter going along a rocky road and has to fight his way to the top. Franck always uses that aggression against opponents,” explained Heynckes, who eventually saw the Frenchman relent in their spat.
“He’s a sensitive person who demands respect. If he feels that recognition, Franck is a generous, lovable person.”