Rio Ferdinand claims former Manchester United teammate Robin van Persie was the player who was ‘hit harder’ than anyone else after Sir Alex Ferguson announced he would end his illustrious Old Trafford reign.
Ferguson revealed at the end of 2012/13 season that he would be relinquishing duties after 26 years as Manchester United manager, bowing out with a 13th Premier League title win, and David Moyes was appointed his successor.
This decision by Ferguson, of course, came as a great surprise to everyone, and it was particularly difficult to digest for the players who had served under the Scot so successfully for a significant period of time.
But despite Van Persie having been a Manchester United player for just one season at that point, Ferdinand claims that it was the former Arsenal captain that struggled most to deal with the news.
"It [Ferguson's retirement] took the wind out of everyone's sails. Everyone was really appreciative for what he'd done for our careers," Ferdinand told MUTV in an interview aired on Monday night.
"The person it hit more than anyone was Robin. He'd come the year before, tasted that success and wanted more.
"Visually you could see it hit him harder than anyone else at the time."
Van Persie scored 26 Premier League goals during that maiden campaign with the club as they streaked to the title, and was able to earn himself the Golden Boot award for the second season in succession.
The Moyes era, however, proved a different story. It was a tough time for everyone as the club got to grips with a first managerial change since 1986, and Van Persie was one of many to endure a difficult spell during the former Everton coach’s brief tenure.
Van Persie continued to score at a decent rate, with 12 goals in 21 league outings, but he started to be affected once again by the injuries that blighted many of his eight seasons with Arsenal.
It could have been sheer coincidence that Van Persie was beset by injury after a change in manager, but suggestions of overly intense training sessions conducted by Moyes and his staff would not have helped a player who had been so fragile in the past.
But in Louis van Gaal, Van Persie now has the best alternative to Sir Alex Ferguson, having struck up an excellent working and personal relationship with the new Manchester United manager during their time spent together with the Netherlands.