Robin van Persie scored his 15th Manchester United goal this weekend against Sunderland. The 24million pound Dutchman has been a revelation for Manchester United this season, and Sunderland manager Martin O'Neil has likened the Dutch hit man to Lionel Messi. The Sunderland boss looks at Manchester United's Robin van Persie and sees a force with an impact similar to that of Lionel Messi.
When asked how crucial van Persie's impact is on the champions, he answered:
“United have paid close on £30million[actually £24million] for a player who had just one year left on his contract, so that might tell you how valuable they perceive him. But its not just the perception, the reality is that he has been fantastic.”
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Van Persie followed his opener against Sunderland by laying one on a plate for striker partner Wayne Rooney. O'Neill added: "The two of them are linking up and keeping some excellent players out of the team. No matter how many times you think you have covered the space, those players can do something with the ball.”
Now, likening the Dutchman to the Barcelona phenomenon is quite a statement. Lionel Messi has scored 90 goals in a calendar year, and counting. But Robin van Persie does not have the same squad around him as the Argentine. The Manchester United squad is full of world class talent for sure, but one thing they don’t have is the partnership of Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta. Arguably the main fulcrum to Barcelona's attacking mentality, this is one position where Manchester United suffer. Michael Carrick is a top player, along with the up and rising starlets of Anderson and Tom Cleverly, but they are nowhere the level of the Spanish duo, and never will be.
But where Lionel Messi is surrounded by 10 other world class players, van Persie is partnered with one, a certain Wayne Rooney. The Englishman has dropped in a deeper role this season for United, and in turn has become the creative hub for The Red Devils. With Rooney's creativity and van Persie's lethal finishing, United have scored 43 league goals this season – just 17 games into it.
In comparison to the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid , Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Manchester City.
Manchester United have won 14 of their 17 league games this season, much down to the influential performances of their talented duo.
The Dutchman is the new talisman at Manchester United, and his 15 goals this season stand him in a similar position to Barcelona's own star – Lionel Messi.