RVP - Wenger has faith in me

Dutch striker wants to one day be regarded in the same class as Messi

RVP: Hails Wenger

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Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has hailed the influence of manager Arsene Wenger on his career as he hopes to one day emulate the talents of Lionel Messi.

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The Holland hit-man will take centre stage when the Oranje take on Spain in the World Cup final in Soccer City, Johannesburg on Sunday.

The 26-year-old has scored just one goal in the tournament so far, but has been an influential figure in coach Bert van Marwijk's system, which has seen the side win all six of their games in South Africa.

Van Persie was quick to heap praise Gunners boss Wenger, who has helped nurture his talents since joining the North London club six years ago.

He told L'Equipe: "When I came back from my long injury back in the spring, Arsene Wenger told me that people will soon be talking about me in the same breath as they speak about Messi.

"I'm sure that would already be the case if I was not injured so often.

"I can feel that the manager has faith in me, but I must remain lucid. I am clearly not in the same league as Leo. Moreover, I am injured too often.

"I'm dreaming about a season with 30 goals and 20 assists. Wenger knows that I can do it, but my body will have to hold on.

"My final objective is to be in the same class as Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney, but Leo above all because he is a giant."