Robin van Persie understands Arsenal’s frustrations over his controversial switch to Manchester United, but has no regrets either.
Arsenal striker Van Persie shocked the English football world in 2012 by completing a €30m transfer to rivals United.
The former Netherlands international had been a reliable performer in north London during his eight-year stay, which saw him bag 132 goals and 55 assists in 278 appearances.
But all Van Persie had to show for his efforts was single FA Cup and Community Shield – which were both won in his debut campaign.
At the age of 29, however, interest in Van Persie was strong in the summer of 2012 after winning the Premier League Golden Boot award with 30 goals in 38 games.
Upon turning down a new contract, the then-Gunners captain signed for United in bid to finally win the first league title of his career.
And Van Persie wasted no time in settling in at Old Trafford by helping inspire the Red Devils to a 20th English league crown.
“I get that the fans were angry with me,” he told BBC.
“I was the captain, top scorer and we came third that year. But just sometimes you feel you need a challenge, a new adventure.
“If I hurt people, I’m sorry. But that’s me. I made that decision and I stand by it. But that doesn’t mean that I look in a negative way towards Arsenal.
“I cannot say one bad word about Arsenal Football Club – it is a beautiful football club, I had a fantastic time there. I arrived as a little boy, I left as an adult, as a mature player.
“I don’t have a bad feeling towards anyone at Arsenal, I’m thankful towards them, for the chance they’ve given me, for the mistakes I made over the years – because I took a few silly red cards but Arsene [Wenger] still put me on – and just the whole family feeling of the club.
“During that whole process of leaving, Arsene Wenger and I never had an argument or a big fight, we just sometimes on certain levels had different ideas.
“At the crucial moments, you have to make tough decisions, and it was a very tough decision. But you have to stand behind them and this is what I did.
“I know if you make decisions like that, you’re not going to please everyone. I learned quite a while ago that I will just be myself, I will make decisions about my life and I will accept them.”
Van Persie finished the 2012/13 Premier League campaign as the top-scorer once again on 26 goals in 38 outings. He also added 15 assists in the process.
The now-retired footballer added: “Thank God I won the league there!.
“That was the target. In that first year, everything coming together was really special.
“I got half the [goalscoring] chances at Manchester United than the year before at Arsenal, and I scored almost the same amount of goals. So then you just know that it goes your way.
“I got help from my colleagues, from Sir Alex [Ferguson] – he really pushed the guys to pass the ball to me.
“After a few months, everyone at the club had a feeling like, ‘OK, this is going to be our year’.
“Difficult games, we won. Lucky goals were going in. When you know it’s going your way…”
Van Persie also gave his thoughts on United’s struggles under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.