Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben has announced that he intends to return to former club FC Groningen as a player.

The 36-year-old retired at the end of last season but had, according to reports, been considering a return to football for some time.

And he has now decided to return to boyhood club FC Groningen, for whom he played between 2000 and 2002 before moves to PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

“After 18 years, we are coming home to FC Groningen,” said Robben in a video released by the Dutch club.

“We are coming home at a difficult time of crisis, one that also hits FC Groningen. It is great to see how everyone is supporting the club.

“I have supported the club too and it made me think twice about what I could do to help the club – the last few weeks I have had many conversations with the staff of the club and more than anything I have listened to the call of the supporters: ‘Arjen, follow your heart!’

However, the 96-cap Netherlands international sounded a word of caution.

“At this stage I am not sure it will definitely happen but what I am sure of is my drive and motivation will be 100 per cent. It will be a tough physical challenge but I am going for it,” added Robben.

“I am going to work hard and when the time feels right I will join first team training for the new season. I hope to see everyone as soon as possible. My dream is to play in the FC Groningen jersey.

“I hope to see you soon.”

Robben, 36, made his FC Groningen debut at 16, scoring 12 goals in 52 appearances before moves to PSV, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

It was a 2009 switch to Bayern that saw the forward garner most success, winning eight Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokals and the Champions League in 2013.