Van Persie talks of boyhood temptations | inside World Soccer

Van Persie talks of boyhood temptations

Monday, November 9, 2009

Arsenal star Robin van Persie believes it could have all been different if he had succumbed to the 'dark side' of life as a teenager in crime-ridden Rotterdam.

The Dutchman now uses a photograph of an under-14s football team for whom he played as a reminder of the right choices he made.

Van Persie told the News of the World: "My life could easily have been completely different.

"I came from a very rough neighbourhood in Rotterdam where there were so many cultures all mixed together.

"I was one of the only white Dutch guys there - my friends were from Africa, Surinam, Morocco, Turkey.

"And, of course, there were distractions. Like when I was younger and was in a shop buying candy - I would pay for one but then take another one.

"I did that sort of thing here and there. We were kids and we all did it. But when I got to 14, I found myself at a crossroads in my life.

"I could have easily gone astray. I saw people doing stupid things - my team-mates, my colleagues, my friends.

"For instance, my friends tried to make me have a drink, have a cigarette and stuff - well, you know, it was Holland.

"But I was always more interested in football, that was what I wanted to do more than anything. So I never did those things.

"I never went to that dark side. It would have been easy to have done it - half the team was doing it, most of my friends were doing it. But I did not.

"I just felt it was not right to smoke, to drink, when you are just 14. Everyone told me to try it but I always said 'no'.

"And the other day I looked at a picture of my under-14s football team and I looked at the ones who were doing those things and also at the ones who weren't.

"And do you know what? The ones who did it - none of them made it!"

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