Robin van Persie has given fans a fascinating insight into his glittering career through the various kits he donned as a player.
During the latest episode of BT Sport’s ‘What I Wore’ series, Van Persie was asked to talk about some of the pivotal and most iconic moments from his time as a player as he worked his way through the shirts he put on during his 18-year career.
Van Persie became a household name at Arsenal after an impressive 132 goals in 280 appearances for the Gunners before shocking the footballing world by making his controversial move to rivals Manchester United in 2012.
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Robin van Persie has given fans an insight into his glittering career on BT Sport’s What I wore
The former Holland international is asked to talk about the iconic moments from his career
After a quick trip down memory lane, Van Persie is presented with the first shirt he wore as a player – Feyenoord’s home strip from the 2001-02 season.
‘I was just so proud to see my name and a number on the back of a shirt,’ Van Persie recalls. ‘I would wear it to the city centre and I was walking up and down like “I’m a football player!”‘
After three years in the Eredivisie, the Dutchman would make his career-defining move to the Premier League to join Arsenal.
Van Persie is first presented with Feyenoord’s home strip from the 2001-02 season
Van Persie insists that he never felt the pressure after making his move to Highbury just months after Arsene Wenger’s men went a full season unbeaten.
‘No I didn’t feel pressure – I was so proud that I was going to the Premier League. But people called me crazy as I had to compete with players like [Robert] Pires, [Dennis] Bergkamp, with [Thierry] Henry.
‘But I was not competing with them, I was learning from them. I was like a kid in a sweet shop! I was so happy.’
Van Persie, who now works as a pundit for BT Sport, was reminded of his flying volley against Charlton at The Valley, which was described as the ‘goal of a lifetime’ by Wenger.
He is then asked to relive the moment he scored the ‘goal of a lifetime’ against Charlton
Van Persie admits he could’ve been sent off for a second bookable offense for his celebration
The 36-year-old claims he was lucky to still be on the pitch during that game at The Valley
The 36-year-old admits he was lucky to have stayed on the pitch as his passionate celebration on top of the advertising hoardings should have earned him a second yellow card.
After establishing himself in an Arsenal shirt, Van Persie reveals that Thierry Henry told him it was his ‘time to shine now’ shortly before the Frenchman would depart for Barcelona.
An apprehensive Van Persie explains that he didn’t believe he was a striker at the time and wasn’t capable of taking over from Henry, but was convinced by the Arsenal legend.
‘He (Henry) said, “no, no, no, you should go for that. Be the main guy, work hard for it – you have it in” and I replied “okay thanks very much”,’ Van Persie explained.
Van Persie reveals that Thierry Henry passed him the torch before the Frenchman left for Barca
Van Persie explains that he didn’t believe he was capable of taking over from Henry
After going on to enjoy some of his best seasons in an Arsenal shirt, Van Persie is prompted to explain why he made the move to United while being handed the Red Devil’s ‘gingham-style’ home shirt from 2012-13.
‘After seven years, eight years you need a different experience,’ he said. ‘I ended up having a decision of [Manchester] City or United.
‘I had the best feeling with [Sir Alex] Ferguson, Rio [Ferdinand], [Nemanja] Vidic, Giggsy, Scholesy – all these guys. I realised with a big move like that you won’t make everyone happy.
Van Persie reveals he chose the No 20 shirt because United were chasing a 20th league title
The prolific striker scored the goal of the season against Aston Villa to help United lift the title
Van Persie reveals he is ‘proud’ of his time at Arsenal and of his time in a United shirt
‘But I stood by it. That’s how I am, that’s who I am. I made that choice and I’m proud of it. I’m proud of my Arsenal time and I’m proud of my Manchester time and I’m very happy that we won the league that year because that was the target.’
In his debut season at Old Trafford, Van Persie would help United win their 20th Premier League, with his 26 goals earning him the Golden Boot.
Following his iconic hat-trick against Aston Villa, which included that volley, Van Persie would face the awkward prospect of returning to the Emirates that very next week to receive a guard of honour from his former Arsenal team-mates.
After winning the league, Van Persie was awkwardly given a guard of honour at Arsenal
The former Holland international picked the Feyenoord home kit as his most precious
‘I didn’t like it at all,’ Van Persie admitted. ‘Not one bit. They were my friends and it was tough for them. It was tough for me. I was not enjoying it at all and wanted to get it over and done with.’
The former Holland international is then asked to pick one shirt which means the most to him from the large collection.
‘This is difficult, man,’ Van Persie says. ‘I will go for the Feyenoord one because this is where it all started.’
Further episodes of What I Wore will be released in over the coming weeks and will be available to watch on the BT Sport YouTube channel, Twitter, Facebook and at BTSport.com/WhatIWore