Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has insisted that he hopes to be as good as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney next season.
The Dutchman, who is currently in South Africa with the Holland squad ahead of the World Cup, only made 14 Premier League appearances for the Gunners last season, scoring nine goals, have missed most of the campaign through injury.
And Van Persie has revealed that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has backed his forward to show his world class talent next season.
On next season...
“Arsene Wenger said at the end of this season, once I’d come back into the team, that people would have been talking about me like Lionel Messi if I had not been injured,” Van Persie told the Mirror.
“I can see what the manager meant when he said those things. But I still think I am not in the same class until I have gone a long period without an injury.
“And I want to go through next season where I score 30 goals and have 20 assists.
“Only then I will turn around to the manager and say, ‘Yes boss, you are right’.
“But I admit that I have a massive desire to get to the level of Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo. And I’d rather do it today than tomorrow.
Van Persie added: “I think Messi is an absolute giant in the game. Not so much because of his dribbles and actions. That’s why most people rate him.
“But I think, differently from others, that he is phenomenal in his team play and combination play.” Van Persie knows his club went through another season without a trophy.
On his Arsenal future...
Despite Arsenal having not won any silverware for the fifth successive season, Van Persie claims that he won’t sacrifice his footballing morals to play for a club who are challenging for honours, insisting that Arsenal and Barcelona hold his preferred ‘philosophy’.
“I’ve always said that I want to win as many trophies as possible in my career, but not at any price,” he added.
“What I am trying to say is that I will work my socks off to get the maximum out of my career, but I won’t move to a club which does not play my style of football.
“Dennis Bergkamp is, in my eyes, still ‘The Master’. The fact that he never won the Champions League, the European Championship or the World Cup does not take anything away from his greatness as a player.
“Of course I love silverware in my football career. But sometimes you can’t rush from A to Z.’’
And Van Persie has ruled out a move to Spain to join up with his international teammate at Real Madrid, claiming that that the Spanish giants sack managers too easily.
“Van der Vaart has said that, if Arsenal don’t sign him, I’ll have to join him in Madrid,” he added.
“But I don’t think that is for me. Real is a fantastic club but the speed of managers and players coming and going is frightening. It must give them neck ache, looking who is coming in and going out.
“They have this philosophy: You did not win anything this year. There is the door and here is a couple of million to buy you off. Ready for the next purchase.
“I prefer the philosophy of Arsenal and Barcelona.”
The Netherlands and the World Cup...
The 26-year-old, who finished as Holland’s top goal scorer in their World Cup qualifying campaign, is aware that he caused a stir in the Dutch camp last week when he said he preferred to play with Arjen Robben,Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart instead of Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt.
“I respect Dirk so much. This guy is getting the maximum from his career. He is a massive example to players who are really good and to players who are less talented,” he explained.
“At Feyenoord we were team-mates. When he joined, there was a lot of scepticism, people did not think he could do it. Will he make it as a player? But he made it, and how.
“Technically Dirk has improved a lot. He can play with Torres and Steven Gerrard, that means a lot.’’
Van Persie also revealed that he wanted Arsenal to sign Rafael Van der Vaart from Real Madrid last season.
“It is a pity we didn’t sign him,” he said.
“We used to be big rivals in national youth teams and did not get on as young lads. It was Marco van Basten who told us in the last World Cup to create a stronger bond.
“He said, ‘If you and Rafael work closely together, you will both rise another level in your game’. He was dead right. We understand each other so well on the pitch.”
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