Van Persie receives rapturous welcome to Fenerbahce
ISTANBUL – Netherlands striker Robin van Persie vowed on Tuesday to rekindle his goal-scoring prowess and help Fenerbahce win trophies as he joined the Turkish club from Manchester United on a three-year deal.
Donning the blue-and-yellow striped kit of the Turkish league runners-up, van Persie stepped out in front of thousands of cheering fans, a few setting off flares, at a signing ceremony in their stadium on the Asian side of Istanbul.
“With this team we can win trophies. My aim is to win as many trophies as we can over the next couple of years and to do really well in Europe,” he told a news conference.
“I will miss chances but I can promise you I will keep trying until it goes in. It is my dream to score goals for Fenerbahce,” he said.
Financial details of his deal were not disclosed.
The 31-year-old joined United from Arsenal for 24 million pounds ($36.92 million) in August 2012 and had an impressive debut season, finishing as the Premier League’s top scorer as the Old Trafford side won the title.
But the Dutchman, who was entering the final season of his contract with United, struggled for form and fitness under Louis van Gaal last term and slipped down the pecking order.
He said he now needed a couple of weeks to be in perfect condition with pre-season training. Asked about his emotions on leaving Manchester, he said: “From my side there are no hard feelings.”
“You see that everyone really appreciated my time there. That was important for me,” he said.
Van Persie struggled with an ankle injury through last season. He blamed a hectic pre-World Cup training programme, as he battled to get fit for Brazil, and then a lack of a break after the tournament last summer.
He spoke enthusiastically about his rapturous welcome in Istanbul, saying he had always liked the passion in Turkey from the fans and players.
Van Persie said his Dutch compatriot and former Fenerbahce player Dirk Kuyt had spoken positively of the club and his time in Turkey.
“We spoke with other clubs but this club gave me the best feeling and I am very happy that we are here now,” he said.
He was also asked about potential rivalry playing against his fellow national team player Wesley Sneijder at Galatasaray.
“He’s a very good guy, he’s a friend and colleague. I’m looking forward to that challenge because I respect this league a lot. You have many good teams here. It is a very hard league to win,” he said.
Van Persie followed his former United team mate Nani to Fenerbahce after the Portugalwinger completed a move to the Turkish club last week for six million euros in a three-year deal. – Reuters