Following his move to Fenerbahce, Robin van Persie has revealed that he was still willing to fight for his place under Louis van Gaal, until it was no longer an honest battle.
Van Persie joined United from Arsenal in 2012, virtually handing them the Premier League title in 2013 thanks to his goalscoring heroics. However, a season of mediocrity under David Moyes followed bundled along with injuries.
The 2014 World Cup brought some hope however as Van Persie thrived in Brazil under future United manager, Louis van Gaal as many expected the Dutchman to get back to his best ahead of the 2014-2015 season.
But with Wayne Rooney being handed the captaincy along with more injury problems, Van Persie struggled for game time and was eventually deemed surplus to requirements.
Being left on the bench against Chelsea in April was the first of many signals that Van Persie received that he was not needed anymore:
“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. The atmosphere changed between me and Louis and people at the club saw it, but I was always professional.
“At that point I didn’t think to leave. Bouchra was happy. The kids were happy. I was happy in Manchester.”
“He had changed his mind about me before,” he said. “When he took over Holland he said to me ‘You’re the No 3 striker.’ I was ‘O…K…’ but I fought and became the No 1 and his captain.”
Van Persie claims he was still willing to fight for his place in preseason ahead of the 2015-2016 season.
“But when I came back, it wasn’t an honest battle any more. Fighting to get back in the team wasn’t given me as an option. He was sending me to Pitch Two. And I’m a mature player. 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.”