Arjen Robben has conceded that joining Bayern Munich initially felt like a step backwards when he left Real Madrid, but feels he has enjoyed the best period of his career in Germany.
The Dutch winger endured bad luck with injuries at Madrid and never truly established himself as the key player his ability suggested he might, before getting moved on in 2009.
And fitness problems have also restricted his appearances in Germany, but that has not stopped him from making a significant impression, reaching double figures in goals in six of his eight seasons there before the start of the current campaign.
The 33-year-old has also enjoyed great success in terms of trophies, winning everything on offer with Bayern, including the 2012-13 Champions League, something he was sceptical the club were capable of before his arrival.
“It felt like a step backwards at the time,” Robben told UEFA’s official website. “Bayern had no international success in the years before I joined and my goal was actually to play at the best possible level, which would have meant winning the Champions League.
“It was a tough decision. Real Madrid was one of the biggest teams in the world. There was no way to return.
“It [moving to Bayern] went well; my wish was to work with Louis van Gaal. That was the best time of my career.”