Robin van Persie, the Premier League starlet is almost set to leave Manchester United for the SuperLig team Fenerbache. Looking back, he has more than been just another striker. Not only did he redefine both the teams he had played in and make it his own, but also bent himself according to what was required and did that with such efficiency that he soon became one of the most sought after strikers in the entirety of Europe.
Joining Arsenal from the Dutch club Feyenoord, he was a known talent right back then. He had a lethal left foot, and that impressed Arsene Wenger so much so that he signed him when he was 20 for £2.75 million back in 2004. And since then, there was no looking back. Season after season, he slowly grew in stature. His first match for the London club saw Arsene Wenger shouting obscenely at him. Fast forward two seasons and his goal against Charlton Athletic was quoted by the same man to be “the goal of a lifetime”. He also ended up being Arsenal’s top scorer for the season.
This gave him a fixed first team position, for which he had to fight regularly earlier. By the time he was reaching his peak, he had again scored 11 goals, equaling his own Arsenal’s record. In addition, Persie had the highest no. of assists at 11 and soon received the Dennis Bergkamp no.-10 shirt, which he felt was a responsibility he had to stand up to.
However, the striker was continuously being sidelined due to injury he couldn’t play as many matches he would have wished to.
2012 saw the oncoming of the Dutch masterclass to Manchester United. It was an unprecedented move and Sir Alex proved his finesse and expertise yet again. While the whole team almost failed, even crumbled, Robin van Persie, on his own, won the 20th Premier League for the Red Devils, much to the anger of Arsenal fans. He was awarded the Matt Busby, the player of the year award along with being placed in the Europe’s top XI team.
Slowly though, the genius started fading on. Although his accuracy and positioning remained as sharp as ever, his mobility and physicality went down drastically. This affected his gameplay and the on-team dynamics along with the team. As the managers began shuffling, it affected his playtime. The injuries did not forgive him and he used to find himself sidelined almost for a month every season, in the worst case.
Here’s bringing to you his top 5 Moments at Manchester United, and hoping he plays amazing football for long!
5. Top goalscorer for the 2012/13 season:
The man was in tremendous form. And that’s how Sir Alex liked it. Many questioned his abilities to replicate this amazing form, especially when the likes of Fabregas were no longer playing alongside him. The wait for his 20th goal in a season was long, stretching to almost 2 months! By April 2013, after his previous goal against Everton around three-quarters through the season, he netted his 20th league goal for Manchester United against Stoke. It was a penalty, and even though Begovic did dive the right direction, he was unable to keep the ball away.
Robin van Persie then celebrated by immediately running towards Sir Alex Ferguson and hugging him tight. Haven’t seen him do that to Arsene yet.
Also, let’s not forget this screamer from the same season, against Aston Villa!
4. Match saving Hat-trick against Southampton
It was not just any hat-trick by the Dutch lad. This hat-trick of his, was the first for him while playing for Manchester United. And what a time to prove himself!
The Red Devils were trailing 2-1 against Soton, when this happened. After an initial first goal, they failed to convert any more chances which came their way, including the 62nd-minute penalty, which Robin himself failed to convert.
His chance to equalize came again at the 87′, when Rio Ferdinand’s header bounced off the post right onto Robin van Persie, who slotted it home. Typical Manchester United to score late game goals.
And soon, as expected, the comeback was real. His stoppage time winner from a Patrice Evra free-kick sealed the deal. His celebrations knew no bounds, as the commentator said “Only the Premier League writes scripts like these. ”
3. His debut goal against Fulham
Oh, what a beauty! Who needs a Batman when Robin gets the job done better? And moreover, such a goal on his debut means only one thing- he means business. Let’s take a flashback.
United was down, thanks to a Damien Duff strike. But hey, that was shortlived. Just after a mere 7 minutes, Persie put in a flawlessly connected volley, from a Patrice Evra cross. Mark Schwarzer could do nothing to prevent it from going in! They eventually won the game 3-2, but Sir Alex and Robin both justified the £24 million for the 29-year old.
2. Hat-trick against Olympiakos
He carried the club on his own to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League and displayed all the qualities of a dependable player. Manchester United was trailing 2-0, owing to the first league aggregate score, back at Greece. Most of the English footballing world was in awe, and unsure on how United would be able to possibly strike back and win on aggregate. It meant they had to score 3 goals and concede none. And if they conceded a goal, the required number to score would increase by two.
In comes Robin. A penalty, a free-kick and a tap-in. All that was required was them not to concede any, and the defence did their job. His hat-trick was considered to be a display of his lost form, and also the lost Manchester United, thanks to the insipid Moyes era.
1. Winner against Manchester City
Derbies are always a big deal. And when it’s against Manchester City, it’s a whole different ball game. And when the game is tied, and there seems no breakthrough, the fans do not just feel disappointed, they feel denied.
Similar was the case with the Manchester Derby. Manchester City came down from 2-0 to 2-2 and by the looks of it the game was leading to a draw. 90 mins up and the score was tied. Injury time gave them a glimmer of hope, a free-kick right at the edge of the box. He stepped up, hit it, and curled the ball past the wall, deflecting via Nasri’s foot before veering past Joe Hart into the goal. This game ensured United a clear margin for the first position with 6 points.