These are strange times indeed for any Manchester United supporter under the age of 30 — you know, not winning, or at least competing for, the Premier League title every season.
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Seven years ago today — April 22, 2013 — the Red Devils were busy clinching their record 20th first-division title (13th in the PL era, also a record) on the back of a 33-minute hat trick from Robin van Persie, who claimed the Golden Boot (26 goals) by a three-goal margin to cap off a spectacular first season at Old Trafford. Goal no. 2 from the Dutchman is one of the best the PL has ever seen.
Little did we know at the time that it would be the last title of Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary career. Less than a month later, Ferguson announced that he would be retiring after 26 years at Man United. A day later, David Moyes was appointed the incoming manager to replace Ferguson, which ever so conveniently brings us to “On this Day” in 2014, a year later…
After less than 10 months in charge — with United sitting seventh in the table, 23 points back of the then-leaders Liverpool, with a record of 17W-6D-11L — Moyes was fired.
In retrospect, Moyes’ immediate struggles only served to highlight the genius that was Ferguson. He was the man who not only built United into a global powerhouse over two and a half decades, but also overcame every last obstacle which proved too great a hurdle for every United manager who followed him.
Robin Van Persie will likely close up shop on his playing career at the end of this season.
The Dutch star, 35, says he’s been playing since he was five and is ready to give his body a reprieve.
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“When I have to stop? That is probably at the end of this season,” he said. “I will be 36 years old and will have been a professional for 18 years. From the age of five, I’ve only been involved in football.”
Van Persie is back at his childhood club, Feyenoord, where he has six goals and two assists in nine matches. Those are fine numbers even for the free-scoring Dutch top flight, and come after he missed half of the 2017-18 season with an injury.
Feyenoord won the KNVB Cup last season and sits third in the Eredivisie through nine matches. That’s seven points back of PSV, who is plays Dec. 2. Feyenoord faces second place side Ajax in De Klassieker this weekend.
Van Persie said Feyenoord has helped him to recapture the fun of playing football.
“How is it successful? This is actually it, if you look at the whole picture. I had lost the fun. That’s not how I wanted to end, without pleasure. The fun has returned at Feyenoord.”
“RVP” scored 50 goals in 102 caps for the Netherlands, and nearly 150 Premier League goals between Arsenal and Manchester United.
Robin Van Persie had an eventful final few minutes as Feyenoord pulled into a crowded top of the Eredivisie table seven matches into the season.
With Feyenoord and 10-man Vitesse Arnham even at De Kuip in the 87th minute, van Persie took a free-kick from outside the top-right of the box and unleashed a cannon that found the far corner, past a wrong-footed Eduardo. It put Feyenoord up 2-1, and looked in great shape to move into third in the Eredivisie standings.
That is likely van Persie’s final significant game action for some time.
The 35-year-old lunged in studs up from behind on Vitesse substitute Max Clark, earning him a straight red card. That comes with the standard three-match suspension, which would leave van Persie on the sidelines for the team’s big match against second-placed Ajax on October 28. It’s a big loss for Feyenoord, as van Persie is now joint-third in the Eredivisie goal tally with six goals through the first seven matches.
On the other side, Vitesse eventually saw two of its own sent off. First, Thomas Bruns saw a straight red card in the 63rd minute for a dangerous tackle from behind, while Danilho Doekhi earned his second yellow three minutes deep into stoppage time after van Persie had already been sent to the showers.
Former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie has signed with his boyhood club Feyenoord after being released from his contract at Fenerbahce, the Dutch club confirmed.
The 34-year-old has only made two league appearances this season due to a knee injury, and since returning to full health in early December, he has been left out of the squad. Van Persie’s switch is a free transfer after his Turkish club allowed him to terminate his contract. It was reported back in November that the Dutchman was no longer wanted at Fenerbahce and that they would let him rot on the bench if he did not find a way out himself.
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“Nothing stands in the way of a return of the 102-cap international to De Kuip,” Feyenoord wrote in an official statement, “now that he has come to an agreement with his current club Fenerbahce about the dissolution of his contract. The club and the player have reached an agreement regarding personal terms and related details for the move.”
A Rotterdam native, van Persie began his career in Feyenoord’s youth academy and made his first club appearance off the bench in a February, 2001 Eredivisie match against Roda JC. His first professional start, a KNVB-Bekker match against AGOVV Apeldoorn, saw him score an incredible five goals in a 6-1 win. Van Persie would go on to score 21 goals in 76 matches across all competitions for the club before moving to Arsenal in the summer of 2004, where he would spend the next eight seasons, arriving just after the Invincibles season and leaving in 2012 after 131 goals for the Gunners.
Chelsea is looking to make a big transfer splash as it searches for potential replacements for Michy Batshuayi and David Luiz.
According to multiple reports, Chelsea is attempting a double signing from AS Roma, forward Edin Dzeko and midfielder Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian left-back is rated by Roma at $30.5 million but he could join Chelsea on loan. However the interest in Dzeko is much newer, and it’s unclear whether Roma would allow Dzeko to leave, especially in the middle of the season.
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With Roma preparing to face Inter Milan this weekend, talks between the two clubs have been put on hold until next week.
Dzeko’s agent confirmed that Conte is interested in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international but stated Dzeko’s desire is to remain at Roma.
After failing to beat out Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for Manchester City, it would be interesting to see Dzeko give the Premier League another go, although he’d likely play second-fiddle again, this time to Alvaro Morata.
Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe and the Premier League: