Bayern Munich's Dutch winger Arjen Robben has admitted a constant stream of injuries in recent years have led him to thoughts of retirement.
The 28-year-old former Chelsea and Real Madrid star told Dutch television channel NOS that retirement "haunts my thoughts and not just now" while on a visit to the Bavarian Alps to visit Dutch speed-skater Sven Kramer.
"I have wanted to give away my football boots and finish [my career]," he said. "I have a litany of injuries as high as the ceiling. That makes me very sad sometimes."
Injuries have blighted the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ finalist - from a broken foot while playing for Chelsea in 2004 to his current hamstring problem - and in each of the last eight years he has succumbed to injury at least once.
A hamstring problem he suffered at the end of September in the 3-0 win over Wolfsburg is the latest to affect him and saw him brought off after 67 minutes of the Bundesliga match. Since then he has spent his time in numerous running and rehabilitation training sessions, but the eternal frustration has tested Robben's patience to the limit in the past and left him feeling low.
"The pain comes out of my back and radiates into the hamstring. I have no date for a return to playing," he admitted. "I assume it will take a long time [to heal]."
Arjen's father and advisor, Hans Robben, moved quickly to play down any talk of retirement. "He will play for Bayern again as soon as possible," Robben senior told German television channel Sport1, while admitting his son was "a little frustrated."
"But he will not retire in any case, he is working hard on his comeback at Bayern."
Robben missed six months of football after the 2010 world finals having returned from South Africa with a torn muscle and his situation again calls for patience. "It's nothing serious, but we can not say exactly when the pain will be gone," Bayern's director of sport Matthias Sammer told German magazine Kicker.
"We are doing him no favours by constantly debating when he will be back."