Van Persie reveals conversation with Rooney before Manchester United wondergoal

Robin van Persie has revealed the conversation he shared with Wayne Rooney before the Manchester United heroes combined to score one of the all-time great Premier League goals in 2013.

With Sir Alex Ferguson’s side needing a victory at home to Aston Villa to clinch their 20th Premier League title, Van Persie scored a first-half hat-trick to inspire an emphatic 3-0 win.

Van Persie scored his and United’s first after just 83 seconds, tapping into an empty net after Ryan Giggs squared the ball across goal.

Shortly after, Rooney’s searching ball over the top of the Aston Villa defence found Van Persie and the Dutch striker volleyed a spectacular shot into the far corner.

Van Persie added a third before half-time as Manchester United secured the Premier League title in fine style.

Reflecting on that memorable evening at Old Trafford, Van Persie told Manchester United’s official website: ‘There were so many special moments [at United], but probably the most special was the night we won the title against Aston Villa.

‘When I look back on the best moments of my career, that night ranks very high.

‘City had lost to Tottenham the day before, so if we won against Villa then we couldn’t be caught. I came to United to win the league. That was our moment to do it.

‘There was a feeling like we were playing a final. In the morning before the game, you could see on everyone’s faces: today is the day it has to happen.

‘Even if we lost, we had four other chances, but we wanted to get it done that night, in front of our own fans. It was set up perfectly. 

‘I scored the first goal after two minutes, a tap-in from another Giggsy pass, so then you just know… Ok, today’s going to be a good day.

‘You know what I mean? It’s just that feeling straight away. The first goal is out of the way, then I could just feel it in everyone, we were in complete control.

‘And when you looked at the opponents’ faces, they knew there was nothing there for them to take. Not that day.

‘Before the game, Wayne and I had a little chat on the pitch, and we talked to each other about him finding me in behind the Villa defence. That’s where you can hurt opponents: in behind.

‘When you’ve got players like Wayne, Carrick, Scholesy – sooner or later, they will find you. That’s just a very good feeling.’

Van Persie, who left Premier League rivals Arsenal to join Manchester United, added: ‘That’s even more important than getting all the ball; it’s a feeling that from every angle they can find you.

‘Because of that, the belief is always there. Sooner or later they will find me, so you always stay positive, because you know that the moment will come.

‘So Wayne and I had talked before the game about the pass over the Villa defence. We’d worked on it in training, too.

‘There are a few things that have to come together, though, from the moment Wayne hits the pass. First, you’re making a run for your space.

‘Then, when you’ve finally got your space, you have to count your steps, because if my last step is too big or too small then I can’t really connect right.

‘I have to have a quick look to see roughly where the ball will go. Then, just before I hit it, I need to have another look because I know already where the goal is.

‘Everything came together in that moment. You practise these things, you plan them, but when it comes off in a game like that, in the way it did, that’s what you dream of.’

Van Persie finished his Manchester United career with 58 goals in 105 appearances.

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