Manchester United: Robin van Persie's three non-negotiables

Former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie arrived in England in 2004 as a fresh-faced 20-year-old. 

By the time he left over a decade later, he had cemented his place as one of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen.

The Dutchman joined Arsenal the summer after ‘The Invincibles’ season, with the team then going on to struggle to replicate the success that they had previously achieved under Arsene Wenger.

However, during this trophyless spell, van Persie still shone. Across his eight years in North London, he scored 132 goals in 278 appearances, with his crowning moment coming in his final season when he won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2011/12, finding the net on 30 occasions.

Despite van Persie’s goals, Arsenal only finished third that term, and in the summer of 2012, the striker made a shock move to Manchester United.

The switch to Old Trafford paid off immediately as van Persie claimed his first and only Premier League title in his maiden campaign at the club. Flourishing throughout Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year in charge, van Persie landed the Golden Boot once more, this time scoring 26 top-flight goals.

He finished his time in Manchester two years later, with his overall record in England’s top division standing at 144 goals in 280 matches.

Having retired in 2019, van Persie recently joined Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes on the High Performance Podcast to reflect on his playing days.

As part of the conversation, he was asked to name the three principles which he stood by throughout his career. Here, GIVEMESPORT – who have an exclusive partnership with the podcast – take a look at van Persie’s three non-negotiables.

1. Politeness

Van Persie was fiercely competitive on the pitch. His record of 47 yellow cards and two red cards in the Premier League suggests that he was never afraid to get involved in the thick of the action.

Yet he still views politeness as being vitally important to any young player coming through.

When explaining what he means by this on the podcast, van Persie said: “Well I think as a person, it defines you, how you behave towards people you don’t think you need. 

“I think that is the status of a person in my opinion.”

Robin van Persie

2. Manners

Van Persie’s second non-negotiable is a continuation of his first. The former striker clearly values treating people with respect highly. 

During the podcast, he outlined a behaviour that infuriates him. 

He said: “If you are in a restaurant and you are arrogant towards the waitress, for example, to the people help you and you’re [clicks fingers] one of them, then I don’t think you’re a good person, especially towards the people we don’t tend to need.

“If you’re a good guy, just be good because you’re good, not because you think you might need someone.”

3. Desire to achieve

After failing to win a trophy in his eight years at Arsenal, van Persie moved to United.

Whilst the move may not have been a popular one, van Persie claims that he had to look out for himself in order to achieve what he wanted from the game.

“I think to achieve what you want to achieve, to be able to give back, you have to be selfish. Then football is ruthless! And any business is like that.

“You have to come up for yourself. In any team, in any business, you have to make sure that your position is there, safe, ’cause otherwise you get eaten,” he added.

The transfer paid dividends for van Persie, who established himself in the team straight away, quickly becoming the main man for the Red Devils.

These three non-negotiables certainly worked for van Persie, helping him become one of the great forwards of the modern era.

For more incredibly insightful interviews with elite sportsmen, women and entrepreneurs, make sure you subscribe to the High Performance Podcast on iTunes.

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