Feyenoord O16 coach Robin van Persie during the match between Feyenoord O16 and PSV O16 at Nieuw Varkenoord on 18 February 2023 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

RVP’s insane overhead kick was like stepping into a time machine

It was like he’d never been away.

On a Sunday afternoon in Glasgow, where the sunshine made a rare and welcome appearance, Robin van Persie donned his boots and set about underlining the mantra that class remains permanent.

Van Persie was appearing in a legends game between Rangers and a World XI at Ibrox.

The likes of Jermaine Defoe, Ronald de Boer and Pedro Mendes were in action for Rangers, while Van Persie lined up alongside Jaap Stam, Michael Essien, Jack Wilshere and Nwankwo Kanu for the World XI.

The former Arsenal and Manchester United striker rolled back the years, bagging a brace and an assist as the World XI emerged victorious by four goals to three.

But football is about more than goals and assists; it’s those moments that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and a couple of puffs on an inhaler to get your breath back.

And the 39-year-old Van Persie gave everybody at Ibrox a memory that will live long in their minds and souls.

Watching a clipped Essien ball arc towards him, the former striker sprang the creaking offside trap and activated the penchant for the spectacular that saw him score some of the most memorable goals of his generation.

Van Persie contorted his body like a piece of Play-Doh to attempt a sensational overhead kick. Sadly, goalkeeper and professional killjoy Ronald Waterreus saved the shot.

“If you look at this period of time, this is where every single point really counts,” Van Persie told Sky Sports when asked his opinion over whether Arsenal would win the Premier League title.

“They’ve had a couple of difficult games recently. They got the three points there, and that is what makes a champion’s team.

“They’ve been proving that. But the last stretch is always the difficult one, so it’ll be interesting to see.

“But my personal feeling is that they will go for it – that they will win the league. It’s been a while, so I’m happy for them to win it.”

And, when asked about United a few days previously, Van Persie waxed lyrical about Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes.

“Yeah, you can see he’s having maybe the best form of his life,” he said of Rashford. “The way he plays, he looks very fit. He looks very focused.

“He looks to have fun. He’s on a mission now. Everyone knew from an early age, because he broke through from a very early age, everyone knew how good of a player he was – and still is of course – but now you see that everything clicks, and that is partly down to him, but as well a coach, and, as well, your team-mates.

“If you look at the connection he has with Fernandes for example, that is something unique. You only have that connection with a few players throughout your career. And he has that now. He is like going from strength to strength.”

Van Persie is now part of the Feyenoord coaching staff, as the Dutch giants aim to win their first Eredivisie title since 2017. They’re also in the Europa League quarter-finals, where they’ll face Roma over two legs next month.

But, after his moment of ridiculousness at Ibrox, perhaps Feyenoord could find a use for him on the pitch.

By Michael Lee

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