Age is a mere number and so is the number 3, the number of goals scored by the 35-year-old Robin van Persie this weekend.
The Feyenoord captain is due to retire at the end of the season, currently writing the final chapter in a career that has spanned the best part of two decades. An icon at both Manchester United and Arsenal, as well as at his first club Excelsior, Van Persie is a popular man across football – except maybe at FC Emmen right now.
For the veteran striker was in fine form all afternoon at De Kuip this weekend, displaying the supreme technique that kept at the very top of the world game for so long. So sharp in the box still, he had given his opponents a warning shot early in the first half despite being completely surrounded by defenders. Similarly, in the 38th minute, he broke free of the defenders crowding around him and applied a tap-in finish that opened the floodgates for the Rotterdam side.
Early in the second half, a high-press retrieved the ball for his side, before he whipped a first time pass out to the right-wing. And then, perhaps a surprise for everyone watching, as the oldest man of the pitch showed pace to beat the offside trap – all that was left was the finish, but everyone knew he hadn’t lost that.
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His third and final goal came when the ball fell kindly to him inside the box following another entry from the right-hand side. With a cool head and the confidence of two goals already, RVP completed the hat-trick and in doing, reached 200 career league goals in this match. A memorable occasion for a true legend of the game and our Player of the Weekend.