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Van Persie treble fires Manchester United to 20th title

By The Citizen

All the talk this season has been that Robin van Persie is the difference between winning the English Premier League title, or not.

Roberto Mancini wanted to sign him after his Manchester City side won a first championship in 44 years on the final day of the 2011-12 campaign. Much to his chagrin, even the deep pockets of the club’s Abu Dhabi owners could not tempt the Dutchman.

Even worse for the Italian, and for Arsenal fans hoping he would stay in London, the 29-year-old decided to join Manchester United for what has proved to be a bargain initial $34 million.

Having never won a title at any of his previous clubs, the striker opted for Old Trafford — and it has paid off handsomely.

His first-half hat-trick in Monday’s 3-0 win over struggling Aston Villa clinched a record-extending 20th English crown for United, and put him back on top of the EPL scoring charts.

“I’m very happy but it’s weird. I had to wait for so long for my first title and it’s a great feeling,” Van Persie said in a post-match interview after United moved 16 points clear of second-placed City.

Two of his goals were set up by 39-year-old Ryan Giggs, who claimed his 13th EPL title since starting his career with United.

The second was a spectacular volley following a lofted pass from England striker Wayne Rooney, which virtually ended the game as a contest as early as the 13th minute.

“It was a great ball from Wayne, so the only thing I had to do was guide it right and hit it properly and it went in great,” said the Netherlands international, whose efforts this season will cost United an extra $2 million in add-on fees. (CNN)