Manchester United star Robin van Persie has revealed he believes the goal he scored against Spain for Holland in their opening fixture of the 2014 World Cup was the best of his career.
It was undeniably a sensational goal and the 30-year-old feels that the situation in which he scored it means it tops any of his other efforts throughout a career that has had it's fair share of spectacular strikes. Manchester United target Daley Blind picked up the ball just inside his own half and spotted his teammate peeling off the shoulder of Sergio Ramos and lofted an inch-perfect pass into the area where Van Persie cushion a delightful diving header over Iker Casillas.
That made it 1-1 after a Xabi Alonso penalty had given the holders the lead, but Louis van Gaal's team powered back to thrash the Spaniards and condemned them to an embarrassing 5-1 defeat. Van Persie and Arjen Robben both bagged a brace, while Stefan de Vrij got the other, but it was the Old Trafford favourite's strike that really made the headlines.
"It is the best goal of my career. It was a brilliant goal, even I have to say that," he told The Sun.
"I look at the occasion and this was one of the biggest so far in my career. It was a bit of a gamble but I spotted Casillas off his line before the cross came in.
"Just before I received the ball, I saw Casillas standing in front of his goal, so it was a header but a lobbed header - a great goal.
"I remember the goal at Charlton. If I choose between the Charlton goal for Arsenal and this one, it is quite simple.
"I have to choose this one because it's the World Cup and against the No.1 team in the world for the last six years. They have an incredible team. So I go for this goal."
Manchester United fans may argue with the former Feyenoord youth star over this particular area, as the volley he scored at Old Trafford against Aston Villa all but made sure that Sir Alex Ferguson's final season in charge would see the Red Devils claim a 20th league title.
The goal he scored for Arsenal at Charlton was a spectacular volley running onto the ball outside the area and to say this was better gives some idea of how crucial the victory was for the Netherlands. Spain had defeated them in the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, where the Oranje were heavily criticised for the their physical tactics and missed several chances to win the game in normal time.
Spain lost their opening match in South Africa against Switzerland and still managed to come back to win the trophy, but this defeat felt far more significant in a year when Barcelona went trophyless and Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich side were dismantled by the swift, strong counter-attacking of Real Madrid.
There were similar signs in Holland's win over Vicente del Bosque's side, who could not live with the pace and power of the Dutch breaking when losing the ball. Iker Casillas also gave a glimpse as to why his place in the Madrid side for La Liga games had been lost to Diego Lopez.
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