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Robin van Persie scored some special goals in his three years at Manchester United after he was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson to lead the Reds to the Premier League title in 2012/13.
Snatched from Arsene Wenger's Arsenal for just £24 million, Van Persie was easily the signing of the summer in 2012, as he went onto score 26 goals in the league the following season to reclaim the Premier League throne after Manchester City won their first title the previous campaign.
The striker had one of the best goalscoring seasons under Sir Alex that year, and some of them were beauties.
He also had two more years with the club where he added 30 more goals to his United tally, but he will always be remembered for his antics in that debut season.
While he was a 'proper' striker in one sense, sniffing goals in and around the penalty area, Van Persie was much more than that. With exquisite technique and control, United's no.20 also scored some unbelievable goals during his time at Old Trafford.
Here are five of the best that he scored during his time at the club:
Despite the slight flick from Samri Nasri which helped the ball fly past Joe Hart, we're going to have to include Van Persie's derby day winner against Manchester City.
It was a brilliant free-kick, but what made this goal even more special were the circumstances.
United had beaten City to the signing of the Dutchman, and were fighting at the top of the table come December.
Sir Alex's men were three points above City, but Roberto Mancini's men were piling the pressure on. They were yet to lose a game in the league and had just turned around a two goal deficit against the Reds at the Etihad Stadium.
All momentum was running City's way, but then the man who turned the blue side of Manchester down for the red side lined up a free-kick in the 92nd minute of the game.
It was a driven yet curved effort from the right side, just outside the box, which landed into the far corner of City's net. The away end exploded, Van Persie sprinted off in celebrations and United were six points clear.
It might've been the goal that secured United the title that year, despite it being so early on. It was the biggest possible sucker punch for City and those are the reasons why it makes the top five.
The composure Robin van Persie showed to bury this free-kick on his Manchester derby debut 👏 pic.twitter.com/y9PDd5c6tR— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 20, 2022
This next goal is not your typical screamer, but an example of how good of a pure footballer Van Persie was.
In a third round FA Cup tie against West Ham, Ryan Giggs picked the ball up in his own half and sends a looping pass across the field to the striker running in behind the Hammers' backline.
Coming across his body, with a man right next to him, it's easy to think that what Van Persie does next is simple, but it is really not.
He plucks the ball out of the sky with his first touch, the second evades the defender, and the third is a beautifully composed finish into the far corner of the net with his weaker right foot.
Including this goal was necessary to show the different catalogue of goals that the forward could score. It also shows a glimpse of what he can produce with a looping ball coming over his shoulder.
Next up, we have a goal in that same debut season, this time, showing his finishing skills from a similar area to his free-kick goal, but in open play.
Receiving the ball on the right side of the box from Antonio Valencia, the United no.20 squares up his man. He shifts the ball twice to his left, giving himself space for a shot.
However, there are three West Brom players blocking the path towards the far left corner, which is exactly where he wants to shoot.
Yet, Van Persie bends his fierce shot around the first man and generates enough power to give the goalkeeper no chance in saving the ball.
It fires into the back of the net and was yet another late goal driven into the far left corner by United's talisman.
Finally, in the penultimate effort, we have a goal that wasn't from that famous season under Sir Alex. This goal was scored while David Moyes was at the helm the following season, and it was an absolute screamer.
It was the opening day under the new management and Van Persie had already bagged one delightful goal as he drove towards the box from just inside the Swansea half.
As he approached the area, he produces some wonderful football to move away from two defenders and open up a chance on his favoured left foot.
Then, without hesitation, he strikes the ball with power, accuracy and venom towards the top left corner of the goal.
The goalkeeper dived, but was never going to make the save for such a pure strike. It was a mix of instincts, technical ability and the perfect strike.
Well, almost the perfect strike.
To no surprise, Van Persie's iconic volley against Aston Villa tops the list and just like the City goal at number five, different aspects come into play about what makes this goal just so good.
But, that makes nothing away from the goal itself, which is a thing of beauty. Wayne Rooney's ball was inch-perfect and Van Persie's technique - sublime. The ball flew into the far right corner and this time, the man between the sticks didn't even attempt to dive. He was well and truly beaten from the second the ball left the Dutchman's foot.
The timing and precision needed for the strike are hard to comprehend, one thing that Van Persie did so well is make finishes look easy, and somehow, he did that for this goal too.
It was one of the best goals in Premier League history, but a few things made it that much better.
It was part of a first half hat-trick on the day, which secured the striker the Golden Boot for the year. It was also the game which won United the title. Robin van Persie's first and a historic 20th for the club.
To celebrate Robin van Persie's birthday, let's take a look at two 𝐬𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 volleys 🇳🇱 💫— Premier League (@premierleague) August 6, 2021
Up first, this worldie v Aston Villa 👌 pic.twitter.com/za7wJhG77D
There were a couple of goals which felt harsh to leave out of the list. His rocket against Hull City under Louis van Gaal was a similar type of strike to the one against Swansea City. While, his headed effort from just inside the box was another brilliant goal scored by the Flying Dutchman at the club.
While his incredible headed goal at the 2014 World Cup might better most, if not all of these goals, you'd have to say that his Villa wonder strike would give it a run for it's money.
On this day in 2014 Robin van Persie scored what is possibly the best diving header of all time™️ pic.twitter.com/ypBkQAmp0E— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) June 13, 2019
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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