Messi: Van Persie is a 'complete forward' at Manchester United

Barcelona star and four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has hailed Manchester United striker Robin van Persie as a ‘complete forward’.

The Argentine who is currently out injured has given high praise to the Premier League’s Golden Boot winner for the last two seasons in a row.

"Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben are two great players," Messi said.

However, whilst the Catalan ace had nothing but admiration for the Dutch forward, he wasn’t quite so much on the charm offensive over former Chelsea and Real Madrid winger, Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben:

"Robben also has class, but is more predictable. He can dribble the ball at speed and leave many players behind."

He was, unpredictably, keen on Van Persie though – the Dutchman has been included in the shortlist for the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or award alongside the likes of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robben, Mesut Ozil, Zlatan Ibrahimovich and world record transfer this summer Gareth Bale.

"Van Persie is a total footballer, a very complete forward and capable of scoring lots of goals,” continued Messi.

They do indeed share their total football heritage – the Anglo-Dutch-Spanish footballing legacy first conceived of in Scotland before being exported to Holland where Johan Cruyff implemented the philosophy at Ajax before taking it with him to Barcelona.

Incidentally, Van Persie found himself the benefactor of Cruyff’s model of total football during his early career in the academy at Feyenoord – Van Persie joined the Dutch outfit in 1998 at the tender age of 5, just four years following Cruyff's retirement as a player where he finished off at Feyenoord.

Cruyff’s footballing principles and philosophy have been coveted both at Barcelona and Feyenoord as well as Ajax and the Netherland national team. It is their total football heritage that makes both Lionel Messi and Robin van Persie two of the greatest footballers of their generation – they are quintessentially total footballers.

image: © little-pete

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