Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Head of French armed forces quits; Six months of President Trump

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Man vs Shark: Michael Phelps loses 'race' to great white

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Chris Froome 'almost' among the greats with fourth Tour de France win

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

International Francophone Games kick off in Abidjan

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Iran open to dialogue with Saudis, says top diplomat

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Spicer bows out of White House

Read more

FOCUS

Iraq's Mosul: Rebuilding a city fractured by sectarian mistrust

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Bistrot or bust? Why France's famed cafés are disappearing

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: Afghans live in fear as kidnappings soar

Read more

Sports

Van Persie is 'early Christmas gift' for Man Utd

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-12-24

Dutch striker Robin van Persie has made the same impact at Manchester United as Eric Cantona, manager Alex Ferguson said, calling him the team’s “early Christmas present”.

Robin van Persie's impact at Manchester United has been similar to the stunning transformation brought about by the signing of Eric Cantona, according to manager Alex Ferguson.

Dutch striker Van Persie has scored 15 goals since signing from Arsenal, drawing comparisons with Frenchman Cantona whose arrival at Old Trafford was the catalyst for United to win the league title for the first time in 26 years.

"I reckon here at Manchester United we got our Christmas present early - right at the start of the season in fact when Robin van Persie arrived at Old Trafford," Ferguson has written in the programme for Wednesday's home game against Newcastle United.

"I am reluctant to subscribe to the cult of an individual because I firmly believe the essence of a successful football team depends on teamwork, and neither are we a one-man team, but sometimes there really is a situation where you are lucky enough to find the last piece of the jigsaw."

Cantona was signed from Leeds United for 1.2 million pounds ($1.94 million) in 1992 with Ferguson's team languishing in eighth place in the table.

But he galvanised the side with his flair and a regular supply of goals, his arrogance and charisma inspiring a team who went on to win the 1993 title by 10 points, the first of Ferguson's 12 Premier League crowns.

"We did it when we brought Eric Cantona to Old Trafford where he proved to be the right player at the right club at the right time," Ferguson said.

"He became the catalyst and springboard for our surge to success.

"It doesn't have to be signing someone for a record fee. Cristiano Ronaldo was not a record buy either but he certainly made a difference as he prospered with us to the extent that he came to be regarded by a lot of people as the world's best player," added Ferguson.

Van Persie has formed a prolific attacking partnership with Wayne Rooney which has lifted United four points clear at the top of the Premier League and on course for a 20th English title.

They lost out to neighbours Manchester City on goal difference last season after the teams finished level on points at the end of the 38-match campaign.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2012-12-24

  • CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

    PSG drawn with Valencia, Man Utd to face Real Madrid

    Read more

  • FOOTBALL

    Late winner hands United victory in Manchester derby

    Read more

  • English football

    Manchester United lose top spot after shock defeat to Norwich City

    Read more

COMMENT(S)