Dutch star Robin van Persie has drawn comparisons to fellow countryman and Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp. ((PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images))


Born: Aug. 6, 1983, in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Position: Forward, winger

Nickname: RVP

Clubs played for: Van Persie joined Dutch side SBV Excelsior's youth squad as a teenager, but ended up moving on to Feyenoord. He made his debut for the club when he was 17 and went on to earn a regular spot in the starting lineup before being sold to Arsenal in 2004. Despite battling injury problems the past few years, the Dutchman has earned a reputation as one of the most dangerous and entertaining players in the English Premiership.

International career: Van Persie made his debut for the Netherlands on June 4, 2005, against Romania in a World Cup qualifier. Four days later, against Finland, he scored his first goal for the national team. Van Persie shone in the two major tournaments he's played in, scoring against the Ivory Coast at the 2006 World Cup, and against France and Romania at Euro 2008.

Why is he so special? Often compared to fellow countryman and Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp, van Persie is a technically proficient player, renowned for his versatility, vision on the field and fearlessness in taking on defenders one-on-one.

His most famous moment: Scoring the winning goal against AS Roma in the first leg and converting from the penalty spot in a shootout in the second leg in the second round of the 2009 Champions League.

He said it: "My heart is with Arsenal and I just can't picture myself in a different shirt."

What they're saying about him: "We play with plenty of offensive players, so it is important you have somebody up front who can make a short control or a short pass. There is no better player than Robin at that." - Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager

Here's an interesting fact: The son of two artists (his father is a sculptor, his mom a painter), van Persie was encouraged to follow in his parents' footsteps but chose a career in soccer when he joined SBV Excelsior at the age of 14.