rafael van der vaart - fact file

2010 -         midfielder


Born on 11th February 1982 in Heemskerk, Holland.

Height : - 1.78m  (5' 10")

Weight : -  - kgs    (st lbs)


A shock last minute transfer deadline move saw Tottenham bring the talented Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart to White Hart Lane for the modest fee of 8 million in August 2010.

Born of a Dutch father and a Spanish mother, Rafael van der Vaart was brought up on a caravan park in Beverwijk  and was kicking a ball around from an early age ... something that took him from his local side De Kennemers to the Ajax Academy at the age of 10.

His debut for the Dutch club came when he was just 17 and he did well in the side until hit by a knee injury in the 2001-2002 season, taking an operation on him to remove the meniscus from his knee to sort it out.  This was just after he had made his national team debut aged just 18.

Left for Hamburg in a controversial move after two incidents that changed his mind about Dutch football.  A training ground clash with Zlatan Ibrahimovich saw the Swede moved out of the club and then when playing at Den Haag, the opposition fans chanted insults and anti-Semitic abuse about his then girlfriend (and now his wife Sylvie) leading to the game having to be stopped.

A good start with a debut goal and a hat-trick against Sporting Gijon was tempered by the fact that Rafael did not get an extended run in the side, with coach Juande Ramos using him from the bench, to try and influence matters later on in the game.  Things got worse when new coach Manuel Pellegrini failed to give the Dutchman a squad number at the start of the 2009-2010 season, but van der Vaart managed to play his way into the team under the Chilean.

Real wanted to sell van der Vaart at the end of the 2008-2009 season, but his wife was diagnosed as having breast cancer and the player did not want to move away from Spain, where she was receiving treatment.  Happily the treatment was successful and she is now in remission, so when the transfer window was coming to a close in August 2010, Spurs nipped in at two hours notice to sign the midfielder for a bargain 8 million and he was happy to make the move.  Things did not go smoothly, with the Premier League looking into whether the deal went through before the deadline, but eventually confirmed the signing, after technical problems with computers had prevented the necessary paperwork reaching the Premier League offices, although the deal was done between the clubs before 18:00.  Harry Redknapp had said that Rafael was set to join Bayern Munich for 18 million and could not work out how Spurs had secured his services for just 8 million, but this offer from the German club was refuted by Real later.  The player said the only other club who expressed a serious interest were Atletico Madrid and Real were not keen to see him cross the city and play for their rivals, so Tottenham's approach was the best solution for all.

Rafa was a revelation on his move to White Hart Lane.  Offering an understanding of the game at the top level, his free role suited him and while it sometimes meant more work for others or others being left out to accommodate him in his role behind the lone striker, his goals from midfield gave Spurs a new threat to their game.  The fact that they came regularly against Arsenal also endeared him to the Tottenham supporters.

From his arrival, van der Vaart seemed troubled by thigh and hamstring problems, but his visits to controversial Rotterdam based physiotherapist Dick van Toorn helped him recover from them very quickly.

His first season was impressive considering he joined after the World Cup in South Africa that summer, so with a Champions League quarter final behind him and a full pre-season, he was at the top of his game in 2011-12.  Arriving in the box at the right time to finish off moves or moving deep or wide to pick up the ball and play short or long passes, his mobility allowed him to be elusive and play in areas where the opposition were unaware of his presence.

Enjoyed playing behind the main striker, but could play anywhere across the midfield and his reading of the game and his eye for a pass helped Spurs reach the quarter finals Champions League on their first entry into the competition, only to lose to his former side Real Madrid.

Was married to Sylvie (an MTV presenter) in 2005 and has one son - Damian Rafael born in 2006.  The marriage broke up amid allegations of domestic abuse and Sylvie having an affair with an airline pilot. Rafael later dated Sabia Boulahrouz ,who was a former team-mate's wife.




Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Ajax (Holland) - - 19th April 2000 v Den Bosch (Dutch Eredivisie)  drew 1-1  141 60
SV Hamburg (Germany) 1st June 2005 4,000,000 ??  116 48
Real Madrid (Spain) 4th August 2008 11,000,000 v CD Numancia (La Liga) won 4-3  scored once  71 12
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 31st August 2010 8,000,000 11th September 2010  v  West Bromwich Albion (Premier League) ()  drew 1-1 ?? ??
SV Hamburg (Germany) 31st August 2012 Undisclosed ??  116 48
Real Betis (Spain) June 2015 Free ??  ?? ??
- ?? ?? ??  ?? ??

Career Record
Ajax (Holland)
117 League appearances; 52 goals
2 Dutch Cup appearances; 2 goals
8 European appearances; 4 goals
Hamburg (Germany)
74 League appearances; 29 goals
22 German Cup appearances; 9 goals
20 European appearances; 10 goals
Real Madrid (Spain)
58 League appearances; 11 goals
3 Spanish Cup appearances; 1 goal
10 European appearances; 0 goals
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
- -
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals

Holland international
Debut :  v Andorra October 2001  (as a sub)
83 full caps;  16 goals
Under-21 caps; goals
Under-20 caps; goals
Under-19 caps; goals
Under-18 caps; goals
Under-16 caps; goals
Dutch Championship winners medal 2001-2002, 2003-2004 (Ajax)
Dutch Cup winners medal 2001-2002 (Ajax)
Dutch Cup winners medal 2002 (Ajax)
Dutch SuperCup winners medal 2003 (Ajax)
InterToto Cup winners medal 2005 (Hamburg)
Spanish SuperCup winners medal 2008 (Real Madrid)
World Cup Runners-Up winners medal 2010
Ajax Talent of the Year 1999, 2000, 2001
Amsterdam Talent of the Year 2000
Amsterdam Sportsman of the Year 2001
European Talent of the Year 2002


- appearance



What they said about Rafael van der Vaart
Johan Cruyff on the midfielder leaving Ajax ...  ..2005 (De Telegraaf)

"I don't know what to say about it or what Rafael van der Vaart is doing in Hamburg."

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What Rafael van der Vaart said about ...
... the differences he found on his first day at Tottenham after arriving from Real Madrid ...  17.12.2011 (The Guardian)

"I remember that the shower wasn't working and then we had my press conference in the little room.  But Tottenham is pure football and pure people ... nice, warm people.  That's what I like about Tottenham.  And everybody who comes to the stadium can smell the history."

... his relationship with Harry Redknapp ...  17.12.2011 (The Guardian)

"When your relationship is good, you can tell somebody the truth.  It's better to do it like this.  To go to him and talk about it rather than go behind his back or say something in the newspapers.  You always have to be honest.  You get to a certain point and then you say, 'Listen, I don't like it.'  I think it's a good thing and I also go home happy.  You are not frustrated."

... who he thinks would be the new England manager ...  17.12.2011 (The Guardian)

"I hope Harry is going to stay but, to be honest, I think he is maybe the right man for the job.  The players would accept him ... and especially the people in England, everybody loves him, so I think it is going to be a good move from the England organisation.  It would be bad for Tottenham but somebody else would come."

... his use of controversial physiotherapist Dick van Toorn ...  17.12.2011 (The Guardian)

"I go there and after one week, I can run and shoot again.  It's a lot of acupuncture, chiropractic work ... and a lot of power training.  You have a lot of pain when you have pulled your hamstring, for example, but he is still training, training, training.  I always go there for four days and it's two four hour sessions per day."

... Real Madrid and joining Spurs ... 

"I was only there for two years and I had four different managers and that's always difficult.  It's a great club with great people but at the end of the day you want to play and it was tough to play every game at Real.  So it was an easy decision for me to come here, I really like Tottenham and it was better to come to a top English club.

I'm at a great age, there is so much ahead of me and I'm feeling fit, so I think my best years are coming."

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Season League FA Cup League Cup UEFA Cup Champions League
1999-2000 (Ajax) 1 (0 goals) - - - -
2000-2001 (Ajax) 27 (7 goals) - - - -
2001-2002 (Ajax) 20 (14 goals) - - 2 (2 goals) 2 (2 goals)
2002-2003 (Ajax) 21 (18 goals) 1 (2 goals) - 6 (2 goals) 6 (2 goals)
2003-2004 (Ajax) 26 (7 goals) - - - 7 (1 goal)
2004-2005 (Ajax) 22 (6 goals) 1 (0 goals) - - 7 (1 goal)
2005-2006 (Hamburg) 19 (9 goals) 3 (2 goals) - - 9 (5 goals)
2006-2007 (Hamburg) 26 (8 goals) 7 (3 goals) - - 5 (3 goals)
2007-2008 (Hamburg) 29 (12 goals) 12 (4 goals) - - 6 (2 goals)
2008-2009 (Real Madrid) 32 (5 goals) 1 (0 goals) - 7 (0 goals) 7 (0 goals)
2009-2010 (Real Madrid) 26 (6 goals) 2 (1 goal) - 3 (0 goals) 3 (0 goals)
2010-2011 (THFC) - - - - -
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