Former Manchester United star Robin Van Persie has been opening up on how his time at the club came to an end.
Van Persie sensationally moved from Arsenal to United in 2012 to fulfil his dream of playing under Sir Alex Ferguson. He hit the ground running, bagging 30 goals in his first season and helping the Red Devils to bring home the Premier League trophy.
However, Sir Alex retired at the end of that season and Van Persie could not reach the same heights under David Moyes and Ryan Giggs the following term, although he still netted 18 times in an injury-ridden year.
He then spent a season under Van Gaal but struggled to adapt to the new manager’s more possession-oriented playing style. He scored just 12 goals in 31 games in 2014/15 and it was at the end of that season when Van Gaal wielded the axe.
‘I had this chat with Louis van Gaal and he told me: “Ok Robin, our ways will part. I’m the coach, you’re the player – you have to go, your time is up” the striker recalled.
‘I was like: “Yeah but I still have a contract?” He said: “I don’t care”.’
‘Ruthless. Towards the end of it, I saw something coming but not this ruthless. And the way he said it as well.’
‘My kids are going to school, they have their friends and everything. So in like a split second, all these things come across. How do you react to that?
‘I said: “We will see what happens. That’s your opinion. But I have a contract and I’m happy in England at Manchester United. So we will see what happens”. And I stood up, shook his hand and left it.’
‘That ruthless, that hard, that direct. And then loads of things came through my mind and we started pre-season. I wasn’t allowed to play in the 11 vs 11 and I was given a ball and told to do my own stuff.’
‘So you try to stay calm, stay cool but there’s loads of things happening. You’re playing the macho card “It doesn’t affect me”, but it does. It does affect me, my family and my career. Big time.’
United are hoping to make Jadon Sancho the next player to wear the famous number 7 shirt. But how much do you know about the players who have worn it before? Take our quiz below to find out.