The former Arsenal striker and captain goes back to his old stomping ground on Sunday and admits he will always respect their supporters, though he expects a lively reception
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie insists he will not let the Arsenal fans affect him when he returns to the Emirates on Sunday.
Arsenal supporters are expected to welcome Van Persie back with a hostile reception when newly-crowned champions United face the north London outfit.
However, the 29-year-old, elated by his first league title, is braced for those who previously idolised him to vent their feelings following last summer’s exit to Old Trafford.
“I don’t expect anything less than a lively atmosphere — but it doesn’t hurt,” Van Persie told The Sun.
“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.”
The ex-Gunner spent eight years in north London after moving from Feyenoord in 2004, but could only manage a solitary FA Cup and Community Shield during his stay.
His first-half hat-trick against Aston Villa spared Arsenal from seeing Van Persie win the Premier League against them on Sunday, perhaps the only saving grace for the Emirates faithful.
But the Dutchman insists he is just glad to finally win the Premier League and isn’t sure whether Sir Alex will pick him to play against his former club.
He added: “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.
“I’m a footballer. I like to play in every game no matter who we play against, but that is up to the boss.”