Robin van Persie has built a reputation as one of Europe's most prolific strikers and, now in his second season at Manchester United FC, the Dutch international told UEFA.com that he is looking scoop Europe's biggest club prize.
Van Persie has tasted European success before as a member of Feyenoord's 2002 UEFA Cup-winning side, but he could only look on as an unused substitute when former club Arsenal FC succumbed to FC Barcelona in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. Now, arguably in the prime of his career, the 30-year-old has his sights set on victory in Lisbon in May.
"It would mean the world to me," said Van Persie, who has scored 24 UEFA Champions League goals in 65 competition appearances. "Of course it's a trophy many players don't win; [you win it] once, if you're very lucky. You have a couple of players who've won it more than once but it’s a very special trophy everyone wants to win every year.
"Only one team can win it, and it's very hard. It seems to get harder every year to win it, because the teams are getting better and better. So it's always hard if you want something everyone wants."
Van Persie has a wealth of experience under his belt, having been capped 81 times by the Netherlands and made over 240 Premier League appearances, but he highlights his decision to swap Rotterdam for England aged 20 as the one that has made him the player he is today.
"Coming to England was the best thing that could have happened to me because I was taking myself out of my comfort zone, out of my nice warm city where I had my family and my friends, and everything was in place," explained Van Persie. "Suddenly 'bang', you are in a different country, you are lonely, and [you have to] deal with it. It made me tough, it made me harder and made me more focused on achieving all my goals. It made me realise that I had the biggest influence on my career, and no one else."
Champions Matchday is the official magazine of the UEFA Champions League and is available across Europe and on the newsstand and also comes in digital versions which can be purchased on Apple Newsstand. You can also follow the magazine on Twitter @ChampionsMag. To see the full interview click on the video player above.
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