Robin Van Persie will likely close up shop on his playing career at the end of this season.
The Dutch star, 35, says he’s been playing since he was five and is ready to give his body a reprieve.
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“When I have to stop? That is probably at the end of this season,” he said. “I will be 36 years old and will have been a professional for 18 years. From the age of five, I’ve only been involved in football.”
Van Persie is back at his childhood club, Feyenoord, where he has six goals and two assists in nine matches. Those are fine numbers even for the free-scoring Dutch top flight, and come after he missed half of the 2017-18 season with an injury.
Feyenoord won the KNVB Cup last season and sits third in the Eredivisie through nine matches. That’s seven points back of PSV, who is plays Dec. 2. Feyenoord faces second place side Ajax in De Klassieker this weekend.
Van Persie said Feyenoord has helped him to recapture the fun of playing football.
“How is it successful? This is actually it, if you look at the whole picture. I had lost the fun. That’s not how I wanted to end, without pleasure. The fun has returned at Feyenoord.”
“RVP” scored 50 goals in 102 caps for the Netherlands, and nearly 150 Premier League goals between Arsenal and Manchester United.
Robin Van Persie had an eventful final few minutes as Feyenoord pulled into a crowded top of the Eredivisie table seven matches into the season.
With Feyenoord and 10-man Vitesse Arnham even at De Kuip in the 87th minute, van Persie took a free-kick from outside the top-right of the box and unleashed a cannon that found the far corner, past a wrong-footed Eduardo. It put Feyenoord up 2-1, and looked in great shape to move into third in the Eredivisie standings.
That is likely van Persie’s final significant game action for some time.
The 35-year-old lunged in studs up from behind on Vitesse substitute Max Clark, earning him a straight red card. That comes with the standard three-match suspension, which would leave van Persie on the sidelines for the team’s big match against second-placed Ajax on October 28. It’s a big loss for Feyenoord, as van Persie is now joint-third in the Eredivisie goal tally with six goals through the first seven matches.
On the other side, Vitesse eventually saw two of its own sent off. First, Thomas Bruns saw a straight red card in the 63rd minute for a dangerous tackle from behind, while Danilho Doekhi earned his second yellow three minutes deep into stoppage time after van Persie had already been sent to the showers.
Now, we’ve all become accustomed to seeing some of the ugly parts of the beautiful game.
Diving is undoubtedly one of the biggest problems we needed to clean up. And ridiculous videos like this one may help to do that.
Feyenoord’s Steven Berghuis got a little pat on his head from an opposition player at the weekend. It was a friendly ‘nice one, mate’ from Utrecht player Willem Janssen. That was it. Nothing more.
Yet this was how Berghuis reacted as he is being ridiculed across social media.
Now, we all know that ‘trying to win a free kick’ and other forms of embellishment are apparently part of the game. We don’t like it. But until VAR is commonplace at all levels of the game, players will continue to try and get away with whatever they can.
But incidents like this and some of Neymar’s antics this summer, coupled with the public ridicule that type of simulation has received, will surely act to dissuade future generations from attempting such outrageous levels of skullduggery.
We live in hope.
Word has it Berghuis is off to a swimming pool in Rotterdam on Monday to perfect his diving skills…
Dirk Kuyt has one more run-in left in the tank.
The Dutch superstar has returned to the field to help his boyhood club Quick Boys earn promotion from the Derde Divisie, the Dutch fourth tier. Quick Boys sits second in the Derde Divisie table, five points back of leaders SV Spakenburg. The top spot earns automatic promotion, with the next four places qualifying for the playoff.
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Kuyt first joined Quick Boys as a six-year-old in 1986, working his way through the club’s youth system and earning his professional debut in 1998 before moving to FC Utrecht as an 18-year-old. Now at 37 years old, Kuyt retired this past summer after winning the Eredivisie title with Feyenoord.
Kuyt was already an assistant with Quick Boys, and has made his mark. The club dismissed a striker after the two argued in a league match back in mid-March, in which the striker bailed on the game at halftime.
The news comes less than 24 hours after Kuyt was unveiled as the U-19 manager in Feyenoord’s youth system.
The transfer rumor mill keeps buzzing as the January transfer window moves toward its conclusion.
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Brazilian playmaker Lucas Moura prefers a move from Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham Hotspur, according to Sky Sports. The price tag is said to be around $33 million, with Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla among the others looking into the 36-times capped Brazilian. Moura had scored 31 goals for PSG in the two seasons prior to this one, but Les Parisiens bought some guys named Neymar and Kylian Mbappe during the summer to chew up minutes on the wings.
Newcastle’s striker chase has been all over Europe, but for the past few days seems centered in the Netherlands and focused on Nicolai Jorgensen. The prolific 27-year-old from Denmark is said to have a $28 million asking price, though the Magpies’ willingness to double his salary might help force Feyenoord’s hand. Newcastle is expected to break its transfer record, set when it bought Michael Owen, to land Jorgensen.
— Fulham’s Tom Cairney is a regular in the transfer rumor mill, and the Cottagers don’t want to sell him. Yet West Ham is willing to offer $21 million for the Championship midfielder.
— PSG will reportedly agree to sell Neymar to Real Madrid — heel alert — if he leads Les Parisiens to the UEFA Champions League title. That’s not ridiculous, given the way PSG has performed in the UCL this season.
— Stoke City is reportedly willing to up its offer to $7 million in the hopes of landing hometown boy Jack Harrison from New York City FC.