The most important thing in football is to score goals and for doing that consistently, each and every successful team in every generation has always depended on some clinical finishers who can turn the match on their own and grind out goals even from half chances. When we think of the term ‘clinical finisher’ then the name of Robin van Persie certainly comes to our mind. Robin Van Persie, born on 6th August 1983, was destined to greatness as every club he played for, a handful of goals and success followed. Let’s have a look at the career of one of the best number 9s of modern football.
It all started for the Rotterdam boy when he joined the youth squad of local side SBV Excelsior when he was five but after a conflict with the Excelsior coaching staff over his “petulant” attitude, he signed for Eredivisie side Feyenoord Rotterdam’s youth team in 1997. In 2001 an injury crisis at Feyenoord meant he was quickly promoted into the first team and made his debut for the club at 17. Van Persie received the KNVB Best Young Talent award after he appeared for Feyenoord in 2002 UEFA Cup Final.
Senior Club Career
After 3 seasons in his hometown club, he signed for English giants Arsenal in 2004. The then Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger planned to convert Robin Van Persie from a left-winger to a center-forward as he had successfully done with another star player Thierry Henry.
He can play on the left side of midfield, as a creative player behind the main strikers or as a target man.ArsèneWenger on his new signing Robin Van Persie
Robin Van Persie made his competitive debut for Arsenal on 27 October 2004 where he scored the opening goal in a 2–1 League Cup win over Manchester City. During 2005–06 season he won the Premier League Player of the Month award for November 2005 after scoring eight goals in eight starts. He was rewarded with a five-year contract extension keeping him at the club until 2011 but despite that, he remained an unused substitute for the gunners in 2006 UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona in which they lost by 2 goals to 1. Robin Van Persie had his breakthrough season for Arsenal in 2006-07 when he crossed the 10 goal mark in the league for the Gunners and ended up scoring 13 goals across all competitions. If anything kept him away from reaching to the touching distance of personal accolades like Ballon d’Or or FIFA Player of the Year, was his injuries. In the very next season after having such a great one with his club he sustained a horrible injury in 2007 which kept him sidelined for a large part of the 2007-08 season.
Then he came back with a bang in next season scoring 11 times in the league and crossing 20 goal mark in all competitions for the first time with Arsenal but then again sustained a head injury after a collision with former teammate Emanuel Adebayor in a league match against Manchester City. From 2010-11 season he started to make that extra push which required in the pursuit of achievements like Premier League Golden boot and scored 18 goals in the league and in the next season 2011-12 he got his hands on the most desired achievement a striker can have, the Premier League Golden Boot award. He scored a thumping 30 goals in the league along with a hat trick at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea in the London Derby and had 38 in all competitions which made that season the most productive season of his career. But despite all these, shortage of trophies and the desires of Arsenal as a club made him think of other clubs where he could win trophies like Premier League and Champions League. In July 2012 he refused to sign a contract extension with Arsenal.
After losing the league on goal difference with Manchester City in 2012, Sir Alex Ferguson cleared the fact that he wants a proven goalscorer in the team who can score 25-30 league goals alone and he could be the final puzzle for the retaining of the title from the hands of free-spending Manchester City. On 15 August 2012, Arsenal announced they had agreed on terms with Manchester United for his transfer and on 17 August, Robin Van Persie completed his move to Manchester United for an initial fee of £22.5 million, with an additional £1.5 million to follow if United won a Premier League or Champions League title within the next four years. He signed a four-year contract, keeping him at the club until June 2016. Robin Van Persie chose the number 20 on his back after then-assistant coach Rene Meulensteen convinced him that he would help secure Manchester United’s 20th league title. Robin Van Persie repaid the faith shown by manager Sir Alex when he scored his first Manchester United goal with his first shot for the club in United’s 3–2 home victory over Fulham. On 2 September 2012, he scored his first hat-trick for United in another 3–2 victory over Southampton thus helping United to make a come back from a 2–1 deficit along with his third goal was his 100th in the Premier League. Robin Van Persie made his mark on his very first ‘Blood Red Rivalry’ outing between Manchester United and Liverpool when he netted a late penalty on 23 September to give United a 2–1 away win at Anfield.
All eyes were on Manchester Derby on 9th December 2012 when the top 2 teams of the country locked horns at the home of Manchester City. Robin Van Persie scored a last-minute winner from a deflected free-kick in United’s 3–2 away win in his Manchester derby debut and laid a foundation for United’s 20th league title. He did secure the Reds’ 20th League title in some style when he netted his first-half hat trick against Aston Villa on 22 April at Old Trafford. The best of which was his second goal which came from a Rooney pass from behind the halfway line, which he volleyed into the net from outside the box. Robin Van Persie ended the 2012-13 season with 26 league goals for the Red Devils securing his Golden Boot award for 2 seasons running and was rightfully named Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for Manchester United. After Sir Alex’s retirement in 2013 he welcomed new manager David Moyes by scoring 4 goals in the first 2 games of the season but an injury sidelined him for months and his absence was evident as Manchester United was falling short of the title race and ultimately finished 7th in the league which was their worst ever campaign in the Premier League era. However, his moment of the season came at the UEFA Champions League when he scored a hat trick against Olympiacos in the round of 16 home tie after the Reds’ 2-0 away defeat in the first leg. But then again got injured in the same match. During his last season with the Red Devils, he scored only 10 goals in 27 appearances.
In July 2015 RobinVan Persie joined the Turkish league side Fenerbahçe on a four-year deal. He played in Turkey for 3 seasons scoring 48 goals in 87 appearances with the club across all competitions.
Returning to Feyenoord
Robin Van Persie confessed his desire of retiring at his boyhood club Feyenoord in 2017. On 19 January 2018, Van Persie agreed to return to Feyenoord after terminating his contract with Fenerbahçe. On 28 February, Robin van Persie scored his 300th career goal in a victory that put Feyenoord into the 2017–18 KNVB Cup final. He also scored in the final later on 22 April as Feyenoord defeated 3–0 AZ Alkmaar to claim their 13th KNVB Cup. In October 2018 he announced he would retire from football at the end of the 2018–19 season. On 3 March 2019, he scored his first hat-trick in the Eredivisie in a 4–0 win against FC Emmen. On 12 May 2019, Van Persie played his last professional match as a footballer in a 2–0 home defeat against ADO Den Haag.
Robin Van Persie earned his first cap for the Netherlands on the 4th of June in 2005 in a 2–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying win over Romania and in another qualifier against Finland four days later, he scored his first international goal in a 4–0 victory. During UEFA Euro 2008 he scored as a 55th-minute substitute in a 4–1 Group C victory over 2006 World Cup finalists France, and started the next match against Romania, scoring off a pass from Demy de Zeeuw with an excellent volley into the back of the net. He finished with two goals as the Netherlands finished atop their group but again suffered the first knock-out round, second stage elimination.
He picked up his First World cup goal in FIFA World Cup 2010 when he scored the first goal against Cameroon in a 2–1 win to ensure that the Netherlands finished as group winners, and was officially named the man of the match. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he captained the Netherlands in a famous 5-1 group stage victory over Spain against whom they lost the previous World Cup final. In that game, he scored The Oranje’s opening goal with a sublime flying header which was later nominated for FIFA Puskás Award that year. Robin Van Persie was the only player since 1966 in World Cup history to score with his left foot, right foot, and head, as well as scoring from a free-kick and a penalty kick. He is the highest goal scorer for the Netherlands’ Men’s national football team with 50 goals. Van Persie made his last appearance for the Netherlands in August 2017 in a 4–0 World Cup qualifier defeat to France.
Robin Van Persie was born in Rotterdam to an artistic family. José Ras, his mother is a painter and jewelry designer who also teaches children with special abilities. Bob, his father, is a sculptor. After Robin Van Persie’s parents divorced he was brought up by his father. At school, Van Persie was one of the most misbehaved children and was punished in the class almost daily. After joining Arsenal in England, Van Persie settled in Hampstead, an affluent suburb of North London. Van Persie married Moroccan Bouchra (née Elbali) and the couple has two children, a son named Shaqueel born in 2006 and daughter Dina born in 2009.
It’s not true. I am not a Muslim, nor a Christian or a Jew. I have been raised liberally. If you want to become a Muslim it should come from the heart. I would not do it just to please my wife. To believe for me is a quest for being a good man.Van Persie When asked if his marriage caused him to convert to Islam
We wish the great Dutchman a very happy birthday and best of luck for his future endeavours.
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