Fabio Aurelio is one of those players who could’ve had a better career if not for injuries. With spells at São Paulo, Valencia, Liverpool, and Grêmio, the left-back has always done well for every club he’s played for, but still leaving the impression he could have been something more.
Retiring three years ago, at the age of 34, after a sequence of injuries which left him out of most of the season for Grêmio, he now owns a party venue for children in a small city in the state of São Paulo.
Aurélio has given an interview to ESPN Brasil this week to talk about life after retirement, but was also asked about the most difficult player he had to defend against, and it was a Chelsea favourite: “Robben was the toughest player I ever marked in my career… We played against him several times when he was at Chelsea and then Real Madrid.”
“I’ve played several times against Cristiano, but I didn’t have as many problems as I had with Robben, it was a lot less work (laughs), Robben is a lot harder to mark than Cristiano.
“Cristiano is very fast, but he’s not that skilful in my point of view. Robben takes the ball closer to his foot, as Messi does. He comes in your direction with speed and changes trajectory throughout the run, and does everything very suddenly, it’s a very big explosion of enormous skill.”
Robben was important for Chelsea as the club looked to cement themselves as one of the biggest in the Premier League. Leaving a lot of memories at Stamford Bridge, Robben will likely be pleased with the assessment from Aurelio.