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The Gunners talisman was pictured outside the Spanish side's temporary residence but insists he was visiting an international team-mate, who has just returned from injury

Arsenal skipper Robin van Persie has defended his decision to visit the Barcelona team hotel on Wednesday, reassuring Gunners fans that he went to visit Netherlands team-mate Ibrahim Afellay.

Speculation was rife in certain sections of the media that the 27-goal striker was Camp Nou-bound this summer but the Dutchman argued that his being pictured at the team's lodgings was innocent.

Van Persie said in Arsenal's matchday programme: “The explanation is really very simple. My very good friend Ibrahim Afellay plays for Barcelona.

“After a bad long-term injury he was finally back with the team - and during his absence I had been in contact with him a lot, but I hadn’t seen him. This was an opportunity for me to go and visit a close friend, show him my support and catch up.

DUTCH DEVASTATOR?
8/1
Robin van Persie is 8/1 with Bet365 to be the top scorer at Euro 2012 this summer
“Unfortunately this had to be at the hotel, because he was not permitted to leave it. I was wearing my Arsenal tracksuit and we sat down by the reception to have a chat and some food - everyone could see us and there was nothing to hide. I can’t imagine anyone conducting transfer negotiations in these circumstances!”

Van Persie was also quick to inform fans that his thoughts on his future had not changed in recent weeks and that he will review his future in the summer.

“The visit to the hotel was a social one and had nothing to do with the future of my career,” insisted the captain.

“I do have a social life next to football, even if my wife tells me that it sometimes doesn’t seem that way! Nothing has changed in the sense that my intention remains to discuss my future in the summer.”

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