The extraordinary attachment Robin van Persie has developed to Manchester United has led him to declare that he may end his career at the club.
The striker, who has scored 19 goals in 29 Premier League games in his first season at Old Trafford, told Dutch magazine Voetbal International that the club’s capacity to further his own technical development, allied to the Old Trafford habit of valuing old players, is encouraging him to look no further in his career. “For the next few years I will be at Manchester United – and maybe longer. United could be my last club,” Van Persie said. The former Arsenal striker’s current United contract will end when he is 33 but, with 39-year-old Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, 38, for inspiration, the striker may be tempted to extend his time at the club.
“You have a number of clubs in Europe where older players can find it good, where they are valued. You used to have that at Juventus and AC Milan, Manchester United today is a good example. So who knows how long I will stay at the club,” he added. “There is a new challenge for me every day at United. My development is an ongoing process. That gets an extra boost when you are surrounded by new coaches and team-mates, all with their own ideas, in a totally new environment.”
The 29-year-old recently described how United’s Dutch coach Rene Meulensteen had developed his own technical ability. “The way he [Meulensteen] trains is exceptional,” Van Persie said. “He is truly one of the best coaches in the world. I have had a lot of good trainers, but it’s the way he prepares our team for games. Every match is different, so every training session in the build-up to games is unique. We know exactly what to expect and he wins points for us through his training.”
Van Persie scored twice for the Netherlands against Romania on Tuesday night to overtake Johan Cruyff’s international goal tally. Cruyff scored 33 goals in 48 appearances during a curtailed international career and Van Persie is now on 34 goals from 74 caps. Van Persie is second in the Premier League scoring charts this season with 19 goals, three behind Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, and United will be hoping his international form means he will pick up domestically after a spell of just one goal in 10 matches for the club.