Arjen Robben plays down Netherlands retirement talk before 2018 World Cup
Arjen Robben has dismissed any talk of international retirement and instead set his sights on the 2018 World Cup in Russia, having been forced to watch Netherlands' failure to qualify for Euro 2016 from the sidelines.
Robben, 31, was named Oranje skipper by manager Danny Blind in early September prior to Netherlands' 1-0 defeat to Iceland. That day in Amsterdam, the Bayern Munich winger was withdrawn in the first half as he sustained a groin injury which ruled him out for the rest of the qualifying campaign.
Netherlands finished fourth in their group behind Iceland, Czech Republic and Turkey, and will not take part in the European Championship in France later this year.
But Robben, who will be 34 by the time of the next major tournament, vowed to continue his international career until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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"My goal is the 2018 World Cup," Robben told reporters in Qatar, where he is preparing for the second half of Bayern's Bundesliga campaign. "That's why I continue; I could have retired [from the national team] otherwise.
"But I still get a kick out of it, and you also have to take on a certain responsibility."
Robben is under contract at Bayern until 2017. The winger resumed team training earlier this week as he steps up his recovery from a pulled muscle suffered in Bayern's 4-0 Champions League win over Olympiakos in November 2015.