At the age of 33, Fenerbache’s Robin Van Persie is now approaching the twilight years of his senior career.
Career commences with Feyenoord
That began in 2001 with Feyenoord.
In 78 appearances Van Persie scored 22 goals for the Rotterdam-based club whilst he was also a member of their team which won the 2001-2002 UEFA Cup by beating Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in the final.
Whilst a Feyenoord player Van Persie amassed 12 Netherlands U-21 caps, although he only earned recognition at senior international level after joining Arsenal in May 2004, for an extremely modest transfer fee of £2.75m.
Lynchpin of Arsenal’s attack
Although Arsene Wenger has a fine record of recruiting new players throughout his 20-year reign as Arsenal manager, the Frenchman’s signing of Van Persie potentially represents one of the most astute signings to have been completed during his time at the club.
In eight seasons with Arsenal, despite only winning the F.A Cup and Community Shield in 2004, Van Persie was invariably the fulcrum of his team’s attack, scoring 132 goals in 277 appearances.
After being an ever present for Arsenal in their 2011-2012 English Premier League campaign, during which he scored 30 goals, Van Persie moved to Manchester United.
Mixed spell of frustration and success with Manchester United
Without delay Van Persie seamlessly integrated into Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, as a natural telepathy developed in his forward partnership with Wayne Rooney.
Just as he did for Arsenal the previous season, Van Persie played in each of United’s 38 league games and scored 26 goals, to help the club win their 13th English Premier League title, which marked the end of Ferguson’s 27-year managerial reign.
Despite Ferguson’s departure, Van Persie then remained with United for two further campaigns, although he was unable to reproduce the fine form he delivered during his maiden season with the club.
Whilst Van Persie flourished under the guidance of Ferguson, he struggled to perform to the best of his ability under the great Scottish manager’s successors, David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal, as United endured two disappointing seasons.
Start of a new adventure with Fenerbache
Subsequently in July 2015, Van Gaal made the decision to sell Van Persie to Fenerbache, with the striker being reacquainted with his former Manchester United teammate Nani. As one of just two recognised forwards in Fenerbache’s squad, with the other being Fernandao, Van Persie scored 16 goals in 31 Turkish Super Lig appearances last season, as the club finished second beind Besiktas, to earn qualification to the Champions League Third Qualifying Round.
Yellow Canaries on song in the Europa League
However Fenerbache losttheir two leg qualifying tie to reach European football’s elite club competition 4-3 on aggregate to AS Monaco, for whom Van Persie’s former Manchester United team mate Radamel Falcao scored in both games. Subsequently Fenerbache were then granted entry to the Europa League.
After beating Grasshopper 5-0 on aggregate, with former Chelsea winger Miroslav Stoch starring for Fenerbache, Dick Advocaat’s side qualified for the Europa League group stages, which they have commenced excellently.
As a means of building upon the valiant performance they produced to earn a 1-1 draw in the Ukraine against Zorya Luhansk, Fenerbache then beat Van Persie’s former club Feyenoord 1-0.
Courtesy of those two results, Fenerbache currently lead group A and are now to face Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Van Persie set to return to the scene where he achieved great success as part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s English Premier League title winning side in 2013.
Van Persie strives to recapture former greatness for Fenerbache
At that time, Van Persie was potentially in the best form of his career and although failing to emulate that since, the 101-times capped internationalist, who has scored 50 goals for this country, remains an extremely talented striker with the determination and drive to succeed, as proven by the manner in which he is endeavouring to regularly feature for Fenerbache.
So far this season, Van Persie has made nine appearances and worked his way back close to full fitness, after often being overlooked to spearhead Fenerbache’s attack in favour of Fernandao last season by Advocaat’s predecessor Vitor Pereira.
As such as Fenerbache strive to continue their fine start to this season’s Europa League by beating Manchester United at Old Trafford, just as they did in 1996 when Elvir Bolic scored their winning goal, Van Persie can undoubtedly help his current club achieve that against the one which he served so well and with whom the 33-year-old enjoyed many memorable moments.
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