Robin van Persie: Stoke the hardest match in world football
Ever since Andy Gray questioned whether Leo Messi could do it on a cold windy night in November at Stoke, matches at the Bet365 Stadium almost became a cliche.
Ironically, Stoke have just been relegated from the Premier League with one of the worst home records in England’s top flight.
Nevertheless, Stoke’s influence lives on in some fascinating quotes today from former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie to Voetbal International.
There is little doubt that RVP is a Premier League legend, banging in the goals as Arsenal captain and then moving to Manchester United where he won the Premier League under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Robin van Persie decides on another year of professional football
Now 34, Robin van Persie is back at his original club Feyenoord in Holland.
The ex-Arsenal and Manchester United striker ended the campaign by winning the KNVB Beker Dutch Cup and has somewhat surprisingly decided to play again next season.
Van Persie explained his decision to Voetbal International: “I can see Bouchra’s (Van Persie’s wife) look. Every morning when I get up, she sees how I get out of bed: stumbling. Stiff, pain. She then has a look … Very awkward, but we never talk about it. She says: ‘Robin, it’s your decision, you have to know for yourself ‘.”
RVP: I have been in pain for years
Van Persie continued: “I have been in pain for years, but pain comes in gradations. Top football is not without sacrifices. Playing for years in the Premier League is taking its toll. That is football in the highest level, so hard that I experienced the games in the Champions League as practice matches. If you suddenly got two or three meters to take a ball, you were not hacked. Well, that was impossible against Swansea City. Those kind of teams did not give me a meter.”
After hailing Swansea, another relegated team, Robin van Persie then added to the Stoke away myth.
RVP: “Or Stoke City, with the wind that raced through the stadium. I always stood there on the pitch and it was always a battle. Stoke City was the hardest match in the whole world. Actually, such duels are overpowering on yourself, until you fall from the edge.”