Robin van Persie has opened up on his Manchester United exit five years ago, insisting he planned to see out the final year of his contract before sitting down for a meeting with “ruthless” Louis van Gaal.
The Red Devils snapped up Van Persie for an initial £22.5 million ($28m) from arch-rivals Arsenal in the summer of 2012, tying the prolific forward down to a four-year deal at Old Trafford.
The ex-Netherlands star instantly provided a return on the club’s investment, scoring 26 goals in his first 36 Premier League appearances to help fire United to the title.
Van Persie’s fortunes didn’t improve much when Van Gaal was drafted in to replace Moyes ahead of the 2014-15 season, with a string of injuries significantly limiting his contribution to the team.
Van Gaal ultimately deemed the former Arsenal frontman surplus to requirements a year before his final deal was due to expire, and he was sold to Fenerbahce for a cut-price fee of £4 million.
“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’,” Van Persie told the High Performance Podcast of his acrimonious departure.
“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. And then a lot of things go through your mind when you get a message like that.
“I still had a contract, my family was happy, it was my 11th year in England. We love living in England. What’s next?
“My kids are going to school, they have their friends and everything. So in a split second, all these things come across [your mind]. 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.”
Van Persie went on to express regret over how he dealt with being left out of a training match by Van Gaal, as he opted to play the “macho card” instead of remaining “cool” over his situation.
“On the way home back I was thinking: ‘Okay, this is tough. How do you react to a message like that?’,” he added.
“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.
“But I tried to stay cool, but maybe at that point it was good for me to talk to someone outside of my inner circle but I was too stubborn to do that.
“Now if I look back at it, there was a couple of points in my career where I should have done that.”
Source: News update