Robin van Persie is the reigning PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writers' Footballer of the Year after a fabulous season with Arsenal.
The Dutchman was top scorer in the Barclays Premier League with 30 goals, three ahead of his nearest challenger, Wayne Rooney, who looks set to line up alongside him when the 2012/2013 campaign kicks off.
Born in Rotterdam, he really made his mark at local side Feyenoord and was chased by some of England's top clubs after a couple of seasons impressing on the left wing. Despite rumoured interest from Tottenham, Arsenal snapped him up for £2.75million in 2004 and he soon proved value for money.
After overcoming injury problems, he became the main man at Arsenal, playing centrally and becoming a major influence on the Gunners' play. Taking over the captaincy, he was the driving force for Arsene Wenger's side and was clearly one of the best players of 2011/2012 with many pundits arguing he dragged the North Londoners into the top three by leading from the front. "The intelligence of his movement around the box and the accuracy of his finishing is exceptional," commented Wenger after his skipper hit a sensational hat-trick in a 5-3 win at Chelsea in October, 2011. "He is on fire."
Van Persie scored in both matches against United, albeit in defeat on each occasion, and confirmed his status as a world-class striker with a string of outstanding displays and matchwinning contributions. A set-piece specialist who possesses a fearsome shot, he also shows an unselfish streak by providing a number of assists for his team-mates.
In terms of international football, he scored in Holland's defeat to Germany during a disappointing overall Euro 2012 campaign for the Netherlands and starred at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals and also at Euro 2008.
Fellow countryman Dennis Bergkamp, who was also idolised at Arsenal, paid his special tribute to an outstanding talent. "He can make the difference time after time and, in my opinion, that describes a great player," said Bergkamp. "It’s incredible how he has developed himself and players like that deserve trophies. His character and style of play is fantastic."