Sunderland boss O’Neill’s high praise for van Persie – He is Man Utd’s version of Messi

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has heaped praise on Robin van Persie after his stunning performance on the weekend.

The Dutch striker scored one goal and provided another for Wayne Rooney in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over the Black Cats on Saturday and his output was likened to that of Barcelona great Lionel Messi who has so much influence on his teammates.

"(van Persie) can get goals out of very little. It looks like nothing is happening, you have players in the area, but all of a sudden he has opened up a gap," O'Neill told reporters.

"Would Barcelona have the same effect if Lionel Messi didn't play? They are a very talented team, but without him you don't know, because Messi is their talisman.

"United have paid close on £30m for a player (£24m) who had just one year left on his contract, so that might tell you how valuable they perceive him. But it's not just the perception, the reality is that he has been fantastic."

 

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