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 Saturday, 4 January, 2003, 16:02 GMT
Bergkamp reaches milestone
Dennis Bergkamp scores his third against Leicester in 1997
Bergkamp buries a wondrous third at Leicester in 1997

Dennis Bergkamp reached another career milestone by scoring his 100th goal for Arsenal in the FA Cup tie against Oxford United.

Bergkamp's greatest Arsenal goals
23 Sept '95: 25-yd drive v Soton
27 Aug '97: Edge of box curler v Leicester
27 Aug '97: Volleyed trap, jink and side-foot winner v Leicester
25 April '98: 25-yd curler v Barnsley
2 March '02: Spin and sidefoot v Newcastle

Bergkamp notched against Oxford in the third round match at Highbury after being stuck on 99 for more than a month.

What's your first thought? That 100 goals in seven seasons isn't that impressive a total?

This is the argument that has always raged about Bergkamp - that he isn't prolific enough to be rated as a great striker.

But Bergkamp has always been a scorer of great goals, rather than a great scorer of goals.

Arsenal fans venerate him as one of the finest players ever to grace Highbury precisely for that reason.

When Bergkamp joined Arsenal from Inter Milan in June 1995, Inter president Massimo Moratti said: "You will be lucky if Bergkamp scores 10 goals this season."

And when Bergkamp had still not scored after seven games - including a 3-0 thrashing of Hartlepool - there were plenty who thought Bruce Rioch had wasted 7.5m on a striker who could not score.

I expect this to be my last club but, the way I feel at the moment, I still want to carry on playing

Bergkamp after scoring against Oxford

Moratti was the not the first man, not the last, to confuse quantity for quality.

Whereas some forwards are all about nicking goals here and there, poaching inside the six-yard box, Bergkamp offers more.

He himself will tell you that he is not an out-and-out striker, that he is as happy laying on a goal for a team-mate as he is scoring one himself.

And if you want to nit-pick, you can argue that Bergkamp is not the complete player.

Almost all his goals come from his right foot. Goals from the left peg are almost as rare as those from his head.

In the 1997-8 season, the most successful of his career, all but one of his goals came from the right boot.

Dennis Bergkamp clenches his fist
Deadly Dennis celebrates another pearler
But when they included strikes of the quality of the first and last against Leicester at Filbert Street - part of a hat-trick which Alan Hansen described as the greatest he had ever seen - who cares?

In that month, Bergkamp became the first player in 25 years to score the first, second and third goals in BBC's Match of the Day Goal of the Month competition.

His third at Leicester was a mirror image of the one he was to score in the World Cup against Argentina, outrageous control on the volley, a little dink inside the defender and a finish as calm as a Buddhist monk.

At the end of his first day at training with Arsenal, Bergkamp was asked - as is Gunners custom - to make a short speech to the other players.

Barely had he begun to explain how happy he was to sign than he was interrupted by his new team-mates bowing and saying, "We are not worthy, we are not worthy."

It was Ian Wright's little way of welcoming him to the club. But seven years and 100 goals later, the same sentiment still persists.

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