Van Persie insists he is not a diver

Van Persie’s team-mate at Arsenal, Eduardo, was handed a two-match suspension for an diving incident in the Champions League qualifier against Celtic, but it was eventually overturned on appeal.

He said when asked if he has exaggerated a fall to The Times: “Yes, I did.

“Sometimes when you are in the middle of an action and you get a little push and you know there’s nothing more to take.

“Then you are in the right to show in a way to the ref that you are pushed.

“That’s not really diving. It’s just showing . . . ‘Come on, he just pushed me, so I can’t score now.’

“You sometimes have a little movement with your arms or with your body, but I don’t think that’s really cheating.

“It’s never my intention to dive, anyway. It is a bit tricky I have to say because I am against divers. It is just not honest.

“But it is difficult because, sometimes, like I had a little moment against Manchester United [in the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford last month].

“For example, after the whole Eduardo thing, when I had the ball on the right side and I cut it back.

“[Patrice] Evra gave me a little push – a really little one – but it sort of outbalanced me. I just fell down and the whole stadium started to boo me. I was, like, ‘Come on, can’t you see he pushed me?’

“Some people don’t see these little pushes and they can give you a whole different picture to what the situation really is.

“It doesn’t play on my mind, never, because I always have the intention not to dive. But sometimes you are out of balance, it looks a bit funny.”