Robin van Persie has vowed not to let Arsenal fans’ reactions intimidate him when he returns to the Emirates for the first time as a Man United player on Sunday, reports The
Van Persie was considered an Arsenal hero before departing for rivals Man United in a £22m transfer last summer. His influence for United has seen them reclaim the Premier League crown, winning a record 20th top-flight championship in the process.
Arsenal are expected to form a guard of honour for the new champions ahead of the match on Sunday afternoon, but van Persie is expected to receive a hostile reaction.
The Dutch international, 26, has insisted however that he will remain focused on the football and not on how the Arsenal fans react to his presence.
He said: “I don’t expect anything less than a lively atmosphere — but it doesn’t hurt. I have always respected the Arsenal fans and always will. They love their club so I understand their feelings.
“Players, staff, managers and even directors come and go, but fans will always stick with their team. So I am looking forward to playing at the Emirates again. I have good memories there.
“And it will be good to see my old colleagues, staff and friends again.”
Van Persie only won two bits of silverware during his stay with the North London club, the FA Community Shield in 2004 and an FA Cup winners’ medal in 2005.
His hunger for trophies has been cited as the primary reason behind his move north last summer, and United’s title win is his first Premier League winners’ medal.
He also scored the hat-trick which secured the title for United in their 3-0 win over Aston Villa last Monday evening, and he is understandably delighted with how his debut season at Old Trafford has played out.
He continues: “I am so glad we have won the title. And it was nice to win it at home in front of our own fans. That was a really great bonus.”
He was also asked about his chances of starting at his old stomping ground today, to which he responded: “I’m a footballer. I like to play in every game no matter who we play against, but that is up to the boss.”
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