Robin van Persie has taken a parting shot at Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal after completing a switch from Manchester United to Turkish club Fenerbahce.
The Dutch striker says his former boss didn’t give him the opportunity to win his place in the first team back, and ultimately says this drove him to find a new club.
When asked by the Sunday Times if being an unused substitute in the loss to Chelsea in April was a sign he was on his way out, van Persie responded, “That was one of the first signals things weren’t going in the right direction. I asked to play in the reserves, to get my minutes, but after was on the bench again.”
“He had changed his mind about me before. When he took over Holland he said to me ‘You’re the No. 3 striker.’ I said ‘O…K…’ and I fought and became the No. 1 and his captain. But when I came back, it wasn’t an honest battle any more. Fighting to get back in the team wasn’t an option. He was sending me to Pitch Two [reserves].”
“I’m not stupid. I didn’t get angry or emotional. These things are part of football, part of life. You have to make the best out of any situation so I’m doing this by moving on.”
Van Persie joined Manchester United in the summer of 2012 in a high-profile move from Arsenal. He won the Premier League title his first season at Old Trafford, appearing in every league match and scoring 26 goals. His production and playing time both steadily decreased from there, with just 10 goals last season. Now 31 years old, he was a fixture in the side to begin the most recent campaign, but following injury he was unable to reclaim his place, finishing the season with just 121 minutes in the final 12 league matches.
The Dutch striker is said to have taken the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson the hardest of anyone on the squad in 2013, and he admitted as much this past year.