Holland legend Ruud Gullit believes that Arsenal striker Robin van Persie will turn out to be the star of the World Cup, emulating the feat of another Dutch star.
Gullit thinks that stars like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will not succeed in South Africa due to strenuous club seasons.
After sitting out for five months with a severe ankle injury van Persie is now fit and ready for the World Cup.
The former Dutch captain feels that the Gunners hitman could repeat what Marco van Basten did at the Euro 1988.
Van Basten also struggled through an injury-riddled season before scoring a tournament high five goals as Holland won the European championship and Gullit thinks that van Persie can accomplish the same feat as his former team-mate in South Africa.
“I say Van Persie will be a big star for us because I see the same pattern I did with Van Basten, Gullit told the Daily Star.
“He was injured in 1988 and then he came back into shape. We ended up doing very well, and he was the reason. He was that good at that moment.
“It could be an advantage for Holland that Van Persie was injured and he now comes back. He’s fresh, eager, hungry.
“He doesn’t want his rest, he wants to play, to score goals. Right now, Rooney is injured, and he’s played all year, all season, in many many games.
“I’m always worried about the stars that played so well with their clubs, about whether they can do so well with their country.
“I’ve never seen it happen. It’s very difficult to do after a tiring season. Also you have a little break before the World Cup where they can lose momentum.
“It’s hard to say Rooney can do the same for England as he has with United. It’s hard to say Messi or Ronaldo or Kaka can."
The 47-year-old, who won 66 caps for Holland in his international career, stressed that it is not the amount of goals that you score but it is the importance of the goals that is important in the World Cup.
“Van Persie’s injury was a tragedy for him, and for Arsenal it was bad also. But for Holland it was maybe a good thing.
“I spoke with him recently, and saw him in Holland when he was trying to come back from his injury. He looks very good. It’s difficult to score a lot of goals at the World Cup and I think you will have to score six or seven to be the top scorer. But he could do it.
“The most important thing is that you score goals that make sense. If you score three goals in a game where you win 5-0, there’s no significance.
“But if you score a goal in every game and win one or two-nil, that makes a big difference.”
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