Arjen Robben v Marc Overmars (v Willem Van Hanegem)
Football talk thrives on comparisons. They’re not useful, but to point that out is to suppose that any kind of discussion about football has a use or a purpose. In fact, to point that out is to suppose that progress of any kind is possible, that we aren’t without meaning entirely. And so, to avoid the existential fallout, it’s best that we simply accept that comparisons are occasionally fun and look into who is better in a non-ironic way: Arjen Robben or Marc Overmars (or Willem Van Hanegem)
Both Marc Overmars and Arjen Robben (and Willem Van Hanegem) are two of the best Dutch wingers ever. Their contributions to footballing history include outstanding Champions and Premier League wins, but they’re more than the sum of their medals, as any great player must be: Robben, the proof we all needed that you don’t have to be thick to have stunning pace, Overmars, part of a group of players who made Arsenal aesthetically acceptable, and Willem Van Hanegem. So let’s see who was the best.
As we can see from the image , Marc Overmars clearly has better hair than Arjen Robben. This isn’t a battle of quantity, but to measure quality there does at least have to be something to measure, which Robben lacks. The best that can be said about it is that at least he’s had the dignity not to leave a whisp. But a win by default for Overmars undersells him: he had great hair: always nicely controlled, never too long, never too short; a real achievement in a period where a lot of players around him had bad hair.
Based on this picture, Willem Van Hanegem did not have good hair. His excuse is that it was the fashion of the day. It is a poor excuse.
Marc Overmars was obviously the master of being two-footed – that is: not tackling badly, just being able to use both feet.
Robben, though, has outmoded two-footedness, replacing it instead with an open invitation to try and stop him from moving onto his left. So he wins this one.
Willem Van Hanegem was good at passing.
Who has the best name?
Marc Overmars is up there amongst the best footballer names going. Like Zinedine Zidane or Thierry Henry, the name makes commentator’s voices do only good things.
Arjen Robben is a bit more difficult to say and it’s less inspiring to hear it. His potential nicknames have never been used well, either: he’s been involved in a Batman and Robben partnership with Mateja Kezman and the ‘Robbery’ partnership with Frank Ribery at Bayern Munich, both of which I’ll pass on. Anyway, Overmars was called the Roadrunner, so he’s got this one tied up.
Willem Van Hanegem is a pretty standard Dutch name and although Wikipedia suggests De Kromme (The Crooked) as a nickname, which is decent, it’s no Overmars.
So there we have it. By all logical analysis, Marc Overmars was a better player than Arjen Robben, and Willem Van Hanegem was the worst of the three, and not a winger as I found out midway through starting this. You live and learn.
Here is a compilation featuring both Robben and Overmars, how exciting. It’s the best Dutch goals ever, supposedly. They are quite good. Which one are you?
I’ve lost sight of what this was about.