Sunday, August 28, 2011

Robin Van Persie

Robin van Persie (Dutch pronunciation:listen); born 6 August 1983) is a Dutch footballer who plays as a striker for Arsenal and the Dutch national team. He is a youth product of Feyenoord. Having joined Arsenal in 2004, van Persie has since become the club captain on 16 August 2011.His playing style and ability have drawn comparison to Dutch legend Marco van Basten.
The son of two artists, van Persie was encouraged to follow in his parents' footsteps but he instead preferred football and joined SBV Excelsior's youth squad.He made his breakthrough at his hometown club Feyenoord, where he spent three seasons and won the 2002 UEFA Cup.He was named the Dutch Football Talent of the Year for the 2001–02 season. Disagreements with coach Bert van Marwijk culminated in a change of club and van Persie moved to Premier League side Arsenal for £2.75 million in 2004 as a long-term replacement for Dennis Bergkamp He won the FA Community Shield and the FA Cup in his first season with the London club and went on to win the 2006 Rotterdam Sportsman of the year award. Van Persie has been named Premier League Player of the Month twice. Van Persie topped the goal assists leader board with 11 assists in the 2008–09 Premier League.Prior to playing for the senior team,van Persie was a Dutch Youth International.He played for Netherlands at 2004 and 2006 European U-21 Championship qualifying.van Persie made his senior international debut in 2005 in a friendly match against Romania.One month later, he netted his first senior international goal in a 4–0 win over Finland.Van Persie has over 50 caps and has scored 21 goals for the Netherlands. He has participated in the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups and UEFA Euro 2008.
Van Persie joined Dutch side SBV Excelsior's youth squad at the age of 14, but left at the age of 16 due to the relationship with the coaching staff and thus signed for Feyenoord.He was quickly promoted into the first team due to injury problems among the squad, and made his debut for the club at 17, which was the first of 15 total starts. He received the KNVB Best Young Talent award at the end of the 2001–02 season. He signed a professional three-and-a-half year contract with Feyenoord in the following season, and scored five goals in a 6–1 Amstel Cup thrashing of AGOVV on 6 February 2003.However, clashes with manager Bert van Marwijk saw van Persie demoted to the reserve squad, and an irate van Marwijk told reporters, "His behaviour made it impossible for him to remain in the squad any longer so he will join the reserve side for the time being."During a match featuring the Feyenoord and Ajax reserves, he was one of several Feyenoord players assaulted by hooligans who had invaded the pitch.Van Persie's rift with van Marwijk continued when he was sent home on the eve of the 2002 UEFA Super Cup final against Real Madrid after the coach was displeased with van Persie's body language after being asked to warm up for a Champions League qualifier. Van Persie finished his tumultuous debut season on the first team, making a total of 28 appearances and scoring eight goals, in addition to finishing runner-up in the KNVB Cup.
Feyenoord unsuccessfully attempted to extend van Persie's contract during the offseason, and his deteriorating relationship with van Marwijk led to his spending most of 2003–04 on the bench. He again played 28 matches, but finished with two fewer goals than the previous season. Feyenoord shopped him at the end of the campaign but found few takers due to van Persie's past disciplinary issues. During the January transfer window, the Eredivisie club opened negotiations with Arsenal, who were seeking a long-term replacement for aging veteran Dennis Bergkamp, but both parties could not agree to terms.
On 17 May 2004, van Persie signed a four-year deal with Arsenal for £2.75 million, just over half of Feyenoord's original asking price of £5 million. Gunners manager Arsène Wenger, who planned to convert van Persie from a left winger to a center forward as he had successfully done with star player Thierry Henry, said of his new acquisition, "He can play on the left side of midfield, as a creative player behind the main strikers or as a target man."Arsenal had further padded their stable of strikers in January by signing Spanish forward José Antonio Reyes,leaving the two to battle for playing time. Van Persie made his debut and won a trophy in the process, as he came on as a substitute in the 3–1 FA Community Shield victory over Manchester United on 8 August 2004. Van Persie spent most of his time on the bench during earlier parts of the 2004–05 season, and made his competitive debut on 27 October by scoring Arsenal's opening goal in a 2–1 League Cup win over Manchester City. He was sent off for the first time, however, in an Arsenal shirt on 26 February during a 1–1 road draw with Southampton, following a lunge at left back Graeme Le Saux, for which Wenger was seen yelling an obscenity at van Persie from the sidelines. He then later lambasted his charge in the press. "I do not support van Persie today, but he did not look out of control at half-time.
When the referee has sent off a home player, he is under pressure, so, if any player had to behave, it was him." Meanwhile, Telegraph sportswriter Clive White described van Persie in his match report as "21 going on nine."

Van Persie was consequently benched for a number of games, starting with Arsenal's upcoming FA Cup replay against Sheffield United, and he was reintroduced into the squad only after Henry was out with a calf injury, and his return to the first team saw him score twice in a FA Cup semi-final win over Blackburn Rovers. The rest of van Persie's season was cut short by injury, and he finished with ten goals in 41 appearances in all competitions.
Van Persie's good form at the start of the 2005–06 season earned him the Player of the Month award for November 2005 after eight goals in eight starts,and he was rewarded with a five-year contract extension until 2011 on 4 January.Two days after signing the contract, however, van Persie was again hit by injury when an opponent stepped on his foot and broke his toe during an FA Cup match against Cardiff.

Van Persie played the next three matches with a hole cut into his shoe to alleviate the pain until he was finally rested for Arsenal's Premier League match against West Ham United on 1 February. He was an unused substitute in Arsenal's first Champions League final appearance, a 2–1 loss to FC Barcelona.

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