Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick have each cited Robin van Persie’s arrival at Old Trafford as a major influence behind Manchester United’s Barclays Premier League title success.
The talismanic Dutch striker netted a superb first-half hat-trick against Aston Villa on Monday to help Sir Alex Ferguson’s men reclaim the championship crown with four games to spare, taking his personal top-flight tally for the season to 24.
And having lost the title to Manchester City on goal difference last campaign, Ferdinand believes the acquisition of van Persie was ultimately crucial in bringing the trophy back to the Theatre of Dreams.
“Robin has been a big factor,” Rio told MUTV. “Last season, we lost on goal difference which tells you that we didn’t score enough goals. We brought in a man who was last season’s top scorer and he looks like he is going to do that again. So he has definitely added to what we had already.
Monday’s victory over the Villains secured a first title triumph for van Persie, who missed out on topping the table during his eight seasons with the Gunners. But now he has tasted success, Rio feels certain his team-mate will be desperate to sample more – just like he felt after his first.
“When you win your first one, you just want more. The first is always the hardest one, you feel like you are never going to get there and you are always trying. But when you finally get it, it is a massive sense of relief. Personally, I’m always looking for the next one and I’m sure Robin will be the same.”
Van Persie’s second of his three strikes - a peach of a volley from Wayne Rooney’s deliciously lofted pass – is a definite contender