Robben has had a career beset by injuries and the latest looked to be a pulled hamstring, suffered as he sprinted to chase a potential pass against PSV Eindhoven on the opening weekend of the new Eredivisie season.
He said he had an itch to return to the game. His return to Groningen came as a lift to the provincial club, hoping for a positive impact from the veteran, who won 12 league titles in a glittering career at PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern, and 96 caps for his country.
But the much-anticipated comeback ended in a familiar sight with Robben feeling a suspected muscle pull and then quickly signalling to the bench that he needed to be replaced.
He limped off, ripping off his shirt in frustration.