Monday 19 March 2018

Robin van Persie reveals he would still be a Manchester United player if Alex Ferguson didn't leave

Alex Ferguson sits with Robin van Persie after Manchester United's sealed the title in 2013
Alex Ferguson sits with Robin van Persie after Manchester United's sealed the title in 2013

Jack Austin

Robin van Persie insists he could be lining up for Manchester United, rather than against them, on Thursday night if Alex Ferguson had remained as manager.

The Dutchman is travelling back to Old Trafford for the first time to face the club he led to their 20th English league title since leaving for Fenerbahce in 2015.

Van Persie, who was named United’s Player of the Year in the 2012/13 title winning season, has previously spoke of his devastation at hearing Ferguson’s retirement plans only a season the 33-year-old joined the club.

He then served under David Moyes before fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal allowed him to leave for Turkey, where he has scored 17 goals in 35 appearances since.

When asked if he felt he would still be at United had Ferguson stayed on, Van Persie said: “We will never know.

“It could have been that I could have been a player for Manchester United today.

“When I signed that was the idea, that Alex would stay on for a few more years, but in football things change, you can't plan your own path or your coach's path.

“In this world you have to deal with how it comes."

Despite the bitterness of Van Persie’s Old Trafford exit, the former Arsenal striker has insisted his only motivation is taking three points off the Red Devils, rather than anything incited by revenge.

“What happened, happened,” he said. “I don't think you have to make it bigger than it is.

“You shake hands and move on to the next chapter. I'm not that romantic, thinking 'that was the moment...' I will just do my lap, go in and prepare for tomorrow.”

Fenerbahce had their preparation for the game disrupted after their plan to Manchester was forced to make an emergency landing in Budapest after a bird struck the aircraft’s windscreen.

Van Persie said of the incident: “Everything is okay.

“I didn't realise (what was going on) until I was told, I was watching a series. Then I found out. It's been a long day, we've been travelling since 10am, so almost 13 hours now, but it's been okay.”

Independent News Service

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