'Part of life' says RVP of move to Fenerbahce

Dutch striker Robin van Persie arriving to a raucous greeting by a sea of Fenerbahce fans at his signing ceremony. The 31-year-old left Manchester United after just three seasons, following eight years at Arsenal.
Dutch striker Robin van Persie arriving to a raucous greeting by a sea of Fenerbahce fans at his signing ceremony. The 31-year-old left Manchester United after just three seasons, following eight years at Arsenal.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ISTANBUL • Robin van Persie said he had no hard feelings about leaving Manchester United to join Istanbul giants Fenerbahce after three years at the English Premier League club.

After a blazing start for the Red Devils in 2012 under Alex Ferguson following his transfer from Arsenal, the Dutch striker faltered and his 2014-15 season was marred by an ankle ligament injury.

"It was a situation where I could see it coming and I could get used to the idea (of leaving Manchester United) for quite a bit," the Dutchman told reporters at his first news conference after his estimated €4.7 million (S$7 million) move to Fenerbahce.

"That is football. You sign for new clubs, there are good periods, bad moments. There are no hard feelings with how it went. This is part of football, part of life. I accept that."

He said that he had enjoyed a "good moment" with the United players to say goodbye before leaving for Turkey.

The 31-year-old also hailed the role of United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who he said had dealt with his transfer to Fenerbahce in a "very classy way" and acted like a "true gentleman".

Van Persie did not comment on speculation of tension between himself and Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, who had guided the forward and his countrymen to third place in the World Cup in Brazil last year.

"In difficult choices you make in life, you look at the positive and negative things, you speak to the people you love and then I have to make the decision," said the scorer of 58 goals in 105 appearances for United, after joining in August 2012 following his eight-year stint at Arsenal.

Some 18,000 fans clad in the iconic navy blue and yellow stripes of Fenerbahce - runners-up to Galatasaray last season in the championship - turned out at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium in Istanbul to witness van Persie's signing ceremony on Tuesday, chanting his name and letting off flares.

The passion shown towards him is indicative of the pressure he will be under to prove to impatient fans that he is still at the top of his game and not a fading star.

"I am convinced I can play many years at the top level, I will show my passion," he said. "I am used to pressure, it only excites me to see the passion of the fans."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2015, with the headline ''Part of life' says RVP of move to Fenerbahce'. Print Edition | Subscribe