Robin van Persie (born August 6, 1983 in Rotterdam) is a Dutch footballer. He grew up in the Kralingen area of east Rotterdam, beginning his football career at Dutch side Excelsior as a youth player. In 2002 he was signed by Feyenoord, where he made a name for himself as a talented young striker. Following disciplinary problems at his new club, he then signed for English club Arsenal in 2004 for an estimated fee of £3 million. In 2005, he was called up to the Netherlands national squad, with whom he has scored 7 goals in 23 matches. He is currently contracted with Arsenal until 2011.
Robin van Persie was born to Dutch parents in the working-class neighborhood Kralingen in Rotterdam. His mother, José Ras, was a painter, and he was raised by his father, Bob, a sculptor. He grew up with his two sisters, Lily and Kiki. As a result of his creative parents, he was frequently encouraged to use his hands creatively as a child. However, it soon became apparent that he had more skill with his feet as he played football on the streets. Growing up, Van Persie also had disciplinary problems at his school in Rotterdam. He was frequently sent out of the classroom as punishment for misbehavior. Spending much time outside of the classroom, he became a close friend with 40-year-old Sietje Moush, the school's caretaker. Aged 14, Van Persie was advised by Moush to concentrate on his studies rather than going out to nightclubs. Moush's advice eventually led to Van Persie changing his behavior and subsequently starting his professional football career.
Van Persie joined Dutch side Excelsior as a youth player; though after clashing with the coaches at the club, he signed for Feyenoord in 2001, again as a youth player. He was quickly drafted into the first team due to injury problems with the rest of the squad, and made his début for the club aged 17, going on to make 15 first team appearances. Following impressive form, most notably his performance in the 3–2 UEFA Cup final victory over Borussia Dortmund on May 8, 2002, he was awarded the prestigious Best Young Talent award given by the KNVB for the 2001–02 season.
During the summer of 2002, Van Persie suffered a serious back injury. He recovered quickly though, and was fit in time for the ensuing 2002—03 season. At the beginning of the season, he signed a professional three-and-a-half year deal with Feyenoord, aged 18. Despite this fact coupled with his previous season's good form, he again fell out with the club manager Bert van Marwijk, after the pair clashed. Van Persie was subsequently relegated to the reserve team. During this time, in the spring of 2003, aged 19, Van Persie played in a notable match between Feyenoord reserves and Ajax reserves. During the game, a group of football hooligans invaded the pitch, and beat up several Feyenoord players, including Van Persie, who suffered several punches and kicks. Despite this, he was not seriously injured. In spite of his difficulties at club level, he earnt several caps for the Netherlands under 19 and under 21 teams. Van Persie's stay in the reserve team was temporary, however, as he went on to play 28 times in the league for the first team, ending the season with eight goals to his name. Feyenoord finished runners-up in the Dutch Cup, and Van Persie also made two appearances in the Champions League. However, on the eve of the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid in Monaco, Van Persie was sent home by his strict disciplinarian manager. Van Marwijk was reported to have been unhappy with Van Persie's body language after being asked to warm up for a recent game.
During the summer of 2003 which followed, Feyenoord made attempts to extend Van Persie's contract beyond 2005. Contract negotiations failed, and this fact combined with his deteriorating relationship with van Marwijk led to Van Persie being snubbed at Feyenoord for parts of the 2003—04 season. Despite this, he still managed 6 league goals in 28 appearances. It was also during the 2003—04 season that Feyenoord agreed to listen to offers for the unsettled forward. Despite such a low asking price for such a talented player, few clubs showed interest in the player due to his bad disciplinary reputation. Werder Bremen, Sevilla, Valencia, PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal were the only teams who made attempts to sign the player. Arsenal scout Steve Rowley conducted research to find out whether the Dutch rebel was really worth signing, and he concluded that Van Persie was just a misunderstood character, which led to Arsenal making a move to sign Van Persie during the January transfer window of 2004. Despite this, the two clubs were unable to agree to a deal. Arsenal's persistency eventually paid off though during the following summer, as they won the race to sign the player.
ArsenalOn May 17, 2004, Van Persie moved to Arsenal for a fee believed to be in the range of £3 million. He signed a deal which would keep him at The Gunners for four years. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said of Van Persie, "He can play on the left side of midfield, as a creative player behind the main strikers or as a target man". He was also touted by many as a long-term replacement of Dennis Bergkamp. Arsenal had recently signed another young forward, in the way of Spanish striker José Antonio Reyes, which led to hot competition for places. Despite this, the young Dutchman immediately made his debut as a substitute for the team in the 3–1 FA Community Shield victory over Manchester United on August 8, 2004.
Van Persie spent most of his time on the bench during earlier parts of the 2004—05 season, though quickly he earned his competitive debut against Manchester City in the League Cup. On October 27, he scored Arsenal's opening goal in the game to secure a 2—1 win. After a run in the first team, February saw his season take a turn for the worse, as he was sent off against Southampton which consequently cost Arsenal two points, and caused Wenger to display uncharacteristic anger in public with a player. It looked as if Van Persie had cemented his place on the bench. However, Van Persie redoubled his efforts in training during his subsequent suspension, and was reintroduced in to the team when injuries to Thierry Henry forced Wenger's hand. His return to the first team saw him score numerous goals, including two important goals in the FA Cup semi-final against Blackburn Rovers to secure victory for Arsenal. He also scored the vital breakthrough goal against West Bromwich Albion to help Arsenal secure second place in the Premiership after the Albion defence had proved difficult to break down. Continuing to enjoy good form, his season was interrupted again as he suffered an injury. Despite this, he managed to score 10 goals in 40 appearances in his first season with Arsenal.
The summer which followed saw Robin van Persie receive his first full international Dutch cap against Romania on June 4, 2005. Van Persie was subbed on during the second half of the game, helping Holland to a 2—0 win. Four days later, Van Persie played for Holland against Finland. Again, he was used as a second half substitute, but he also managed Holland's fourth goal of the game, sealing a 4—0 victory for his country.
Van Persie scored in the first game of the 2005—06 season and he continued to show good form, winning the prestigious Player of the Month award in November after scoring six goals in just four starts. He suffered from a brief knee injury over the Christmas period, but on January 4, 2006, his good form was rewarded in the form of a five-year contract extension until 2011. He finished the season having played in 38 games, and despite largely being used as a substitute, he scored 11 goals. Van Persie became known as a rare player who could make a goal out of nothing.
Van Persie surrounded by fans during the World Cup.Despite not being an automatic first choice to start for Arsenal, Van Persie was selected as one of the Netherlands' forwards for the 2006 FIFA World Cup by national coach Marco Van Basten. Though Holland were eliminated after four games in the tournament, Van Persie played in each match,  even managing a goal in the group match against Côte d'Ivoire, a free kick in the 23rd minute.
Van Persie begun the 2006—07 season in great form. Among numerous goals, he scored an impressive airborne volley against Charlton Athletic, which turned out to be BBC's Goal of the Month. Another notable contribution was made during the 2—1 loss to Fulham FC, in which Van Persie scored a powerful free kick from 30 yards. His good form continued for Holland during the Euro 2008 qualifiers too, as he helped his country to a 1—0 win against Luxembourg on September 2. He also scored Holland's first goal during their 2—1 win against Albania on October 11. These impressive performances led to Van Persie being named Rotterdam Sportsman of the year for 2006. Van Persie continued to illustrate his importance to Arsenal after an impressive run during the Christmas period, in which he scored five goals in four games. However, his season was soon ended by injury. In a match against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on 21 January 2007, Van Persie came on as a substitute and scored the equalizer in the 84th minute. Though in doing so, he fractured his fifth metatarsal in his right foot while celebrating; an injury that kept him out for the remainder the end of the season. Despite this, he finished as Arsenal's top scorer for the season with 13 goals in 30 appearances.
Following the departure of Arsenal star striker Thierry Henry prior to the 2007—08 season, Van Persie was expected to assume the role as the main striker of the club. He showed good form in the pre-season Emirates Cup, scoring the winning goal in Arsenal's 2–1 victory over Internazionale, a goal described by one journalist as "of sublime execution". Following this, he scored in a flurry of games, quickly becoming Arsenal's most important player. After managing 7 goals in 10 games, he was again struck by another knee injury after falling awkwardly while on international duty with Holland. The injury kept him out for two months, and he eventually made his comeback against Steaua Bucharest on December 12, 2007, setting up Arsenal's second in the process. He then came on in the next game against Chelsea F.C. and had a goal disallowed. It was then confirmed that he would be out for a few more weeks. He made yet another come back in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur but it was clear he was not match fit, and was substituted at half-time. He returned to first team action against Wigan Athletic on March 9, 2008, coming on in the second half for Nicklas Bendtner. After the injury, van Persie finally scored a goal from the penalty spot against Bolton Wanderers F.C. at the Reebok Stadium. The match ended with Arsenal winning 3–2.
Style of play
Van Persie can play as a striker like he normally does for Arsenal or on either wing, as he primarily does for the Netherlands. He is also a free kick specialist. This was demonstrated in the 2006 World Cup group stages match for Netherlands in which he expertly curled a free kick around the Ivory Coast wall into the goal. His left foot is known for the ability to put mass power into the ball when struck.
Robin van Persie is married to Bouchra, a Moroccan-Dutch. They have one child together, a boy named Shaqueel, born on November 16, 2006. They live in Enfield, North London.
On June 13, 2005, while in Rotterdam with the Dutch national team for the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, Van Persie was arrested on suspicion of rape by Dutch police. Former Miss Nigeria Holland Sandra Krijgsman claimed she was attacked by Van Persie on Saturday June 11 in a hotel. He was held for fourteen nights in prison while the police investigated the allegations made against him but was then released without charge, though he was still under suspicion. In February 2006, the case against Van Persie was completely dismissed by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service after they completed their investigations. The prosecution stated, after a thorough investigation, that no sexual contact with coercion happened. Van Persie spoke of his ordeal several months later, saying how degrading the experience was and how he was treated like a criminal despite the fact he was completely innocent. He revealed that conditions in the prison were so hot that they caused him to lose consciousness. It also emerged that over 200 Rotterdam police officers had attempted to view his case files, with the vast majority of them unauthorised to do so.