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Rafael Van Der Vaart

Rafael Ferdinand van der Vaart (; born 11 February 1983) is a Netherlands association football who plays for England Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and the Netherlands national football team. Rafael Van Der Vaart preferred position is as an attacking midfielder; Rafael Van Der Vaart can, however, also operate in other positions, such as second striker. Van der Vaart began Rafael Van Der Vaart career at AFC Ajax' famous Jong Ajax and worked Rafael Van Der Vaart way into the first team, debuting as a 17-year-old. So stunning was Rafael Van Der Vaart impact Rafael Van Der Vaart was hailed as the new Johan Cruyff. Rafael Van Der Vaart was named Johan Cruijff Award and became the first recipient of the Golden Boy Award while at the club.

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Rafael Van Der Vaart biography


Rafael Ferdinand van der Vaart (; born 11 February 1983) is a Netherlands association football who plays for England Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and the Netherlands national football team. Rafael Van Der Vaart preferred position is as an attacking midfielder; Rafael Van Der Vaart can, however, also operate in other positions, such as second striker. Van der Vaart began Rafael Van Der Vaart career at AFC Ajax' famous Jong Ajax and worked Rafael Van Der Vaart way into the first team, debuting as a 17-year-old. So stunning was Rafael Van Der Vaart impact Rafael Van Der Vaart was hailed as the new Johan Cruyff. Rafael Van Der Vaart was named Johan Cruijff Award and became the first recipient of the Golden Boy Award while at the club.

Rafael Van Der Vaart moved to Germany Fußball-Bundesliga side Hamburger SV, then to Real Madrid C.F., then on to Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the 2010–11 Premier League summer transfer window. Van der Vaart is well known for Rafael Van Der Vaart passing, deadly finishing and the capacity to use both feet well. Following Rafael Van Der Vaart performances in the Premier League in the 2010-11 season with Tottenham Hotspur, van der Vaart was nominated for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, along with team-mate and eventual winner, Gareth Bale.

Early life

Van der Vaart was born in Heemskerk to a Dutch father and a Spain mother from Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz (province). Before joining AFC Ajax, Rafael Van Der Vaart played for a local club called De Kennemers based in Beverwijk. Rafael Van Der Vaart grew up on a RV park living a "Romani people" and often pretended to be Romário while playing football. It was at the caravan park that Rafael Van Der Vaart learned how to play football and, at the age of 10, Rafael Van Der Vaart joined the AFC Ajax Academy. Van der Vaart has said of Rafael Van Der Vaart upbringing, "That was the way my family lived. My father was born there and it is a lifestyle. Maybe it is not a normal lifestyle but I always liked it. I always played football on the street. It was an easy life, then I was 10 years old and went to Ajax and played there for almost 12 years."

Club career

Ajax

Van der Vaart came through the ranks at Ajax with national teammates John Heitinga and Wesley Sneijder. Initially, Rafael Van Der Vaart signed for Ajax on a trial basis as a ten-year-old, but was eventually enrolled permanently after impressing the coaches. At the age of 17, Van der Vaart made Rafael Van Der Vaart debut for the Ajax senior side in a 1–1 draw with FC Den Bosch on 19 April 2000 in the 1999–2000 in Dutch football.
In the 2000-01 in Dutch football, Ajax manager Co Adriaanse increased Van der Vaart's playing time by moving Rafael Van Der Vaart to the attacking midfielder position. Rafael Van Der Vaart was voted as European Talent of the Year by Italy football website CalcioManager.

The 2001-02 in Dutch football, Van der Vaart suffered a serious knee injury and was out for several months. Shortly after returning to action, Rafael Van Der Vaart re-injured the same knee on 2 April 2002, requiring an operation that involved the removal of Rafael Van Der Vaart entire Meniscus (anatomy). Rafael Van Der Vaart missed the rest of the season and finished with fourteen goals.

In 2002-03 in Dutch football, Ajax won the Amsterdam Tournament, though injury limited Van der Vaart to 21 league appearances, in which Rafael Van Der Vaart scored 18 goals. An injury forced Rafael Van Der Vaart to miss the run-in to Ajax’s successful Eredivisie campaign and their Dutch Cup triumph against FC Utrecht in the 2001–02 season, but it did not stop Rafael Van Der Vaart being named the Netherlands' Talent of the Year. And the following season, after Rafael Van Der Vaart return to fitness, Rafael Van Der Vaart scored a vital goal in the UEFA Champions League away to Olympique Lyonnais, which propelled Ajax into the knockout stages. Back on the domestic front, meanwhile, Van der Vaart scored an impressive 18 goals in 21 league games in the Eredivisie.

In the first half of 2003–04, Rafael Van Der Vaart performances were poor. Van der Vaart admitted Rafael Van Der Vaart was overweight, and the media criticized Rafael Van Der Vaart celebrity lifestyle with then fiancee, The Music Factory VJ (media personality) Sylvie Meis. Rafael Van Der Vaart became an influential figure once again as Ajax claimed another league title. By that stage, Van der Vaart had firmly established himself as one of the stars of the Ajax team, as well as one of the most popular players in the Netherlands.

Van der Vaart was named team captain by coach Ronald Koeman for the 2004-05 in Dutch football. During an international match against Sweden national football team on 18 August 2004, Rafael Van Der Vaart was injured by then-Ajax teammate Zlatan Ibrahimović, which led to the sale of Ibrahimović to Juventus F.C. two weeks later, following controversial accusations that the Swede had intentionally tried to hurt Van der Vaart. As a result, Van der Vaart took Ibrahimović's spot as striker. Rafael Van Der Vaart was unhappy at being played out of position, and following Rafael Van Der Vaart refusal to play on the wing in a Champions League match in December, Rafael Van Der Vaart was stripped of the team captaincy by Koeman.

In September, a league match against ADO Den Haag was temporarily halted by the officials due to incessant chants by opposing fans directed at Meis. The incident, coupled with Rafael Van Der Vaart ongoing injury problems that resulted in an average of only 23 league appearances in five seasons with Ajax, led Rafael Van Der Vaart to announce that Rafael Van Der Vaart was leaving the club at the end of the year.

Hamburger SV

At this point, Van der Vaart's performances were attracting interest from some of Europe’s top clubs. Rafael Van Der Vaart had previously been strongly linked to A.C. Milan, but in the summer of 2005, Rafael Van Der Vaart signed for Fußball-Bundesliga outfit Hamburger SV in Germany. Van der Vaart's €5.5 million transfer to Hamburg, on 1 June 2005, raised many eyebrows. Many other top-flight clubs had shown interest in the midfielder but Rafael Van Der Vaart chose Hamburg. Ajax legend Johan Cruyff himself commented in Rafael Van Der Vaart De Telegraaf column, "I don't know what to say about it or what Rafael van der Vaart is doing in Hamburg." and Valencia CF, Rafael Van Der Vaart stated that Rafael Van Der Vaart would stay at Hamburg until the end of the season, but opted out of signing a contract extension.

Real Madrid

Towards the end of the 2007–08 season, Van der Vaart was linked to a move to several clubs including Atlético Madrid and Juventus F.C.. Atlético made a €15 million bid for the Dutchman, which Hamburg rejected, and in the end, it was their cross-town rivals who got Van der Vaart's signature instead.

On 4 August 2008, Real Madrid C.F. and Hamburg reached a €13 million agreement for Van der Vaart's transfer, Real Madrid's only summer signing. Rafael Van Der Vaart signed a five-year contract for an undisclosed amount. Van der Vaart debuted in a 2–1 preseason win four days later, against Independiente Santa Fé, where Rafael Van Der Vaart scored the equalising goal and provided an assist for the winner.

Rafael Van Der Vaart changed Rafael Van Der Vaart squad number from 19 to Rafael Van Der Vaart favored number 23 after teammate Wesley Sneijder took number 10 following Robinho's departure to Manchester City F.C. on 31 August . Rafael Van Der Vaart marked Rafael Van Der Vaart league debut for Real Madrid with a strike against CD Numancia in a 4–3 victory. On 24 September, Rafael Van Der Vaart scored Rafael Van Der Vaart first career hat-trick in a 7–1 thrashing of Sporting de Gijón. In October
2008, Van der Vaart was one of the many La Liga players to be nominated for the Ballon d'Or, but the award eventually went to Manchester United F.C. forward and future teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. For the latter part of the 2008–09 season, Van der Vaart was mostly utilized as an impact substitute by coach Juande Ramos, which led to speculations of a fall-out between coach and player. Despite transfer rumors linking Rafael Van Der Vaart with Arsenal F.C., Chelsea F.C., and Liverpool F.C., Rafael Van Der Vaart denied having any links with the English clubs.

During the summer of 2009, it was speculated that Van der Vaart would leave Real Madrid after being told Rafael Van Der Vaart was not going to be part of the team's plans by coach Manuel Pellegrini. Rafael Van Der Vaart number 23 jersey was even handed to Esteban Granero in preseason, leaving Rafael Van Der Vaart without a squad number. Towards the end of the summer transfer window, however, Rafael Van Der Vaart eventually came to an agreement with Real Madrid to stay with the club after the squad size had been reduced to 25 players as Dutch compatriots Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar were forced to leave the club. Van der Vaart was handed Rafael Van Der Vaart original number 23 jersey while Granero was given number 24. After a wait of four games, Van der Vaart was finally included in Pellegrini's squad list to face Villarreal CF on 23 September. An injury to Kaká gave Van der Vaart a chance to establish himself as a key player for Los Blancos again. On 20 December, Rafael Van Der Vaart scored two goals in a 6–0 win against Real Zaragoza. Van der Vaart stated Rafael Van Der Vaart desire to stay at Real Madrid, at least until the end of Rafael Van Der Vaart contract.

Tottenham Hotspur

2010–11 season

On 31 August 2010, two hours before the transfer window closed, Tottenham Hotspur F.C. made an offer of £8 million for Van der Vaart. According to Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, an £18 million transfer to FC Bayern Munich had collapsed the day before and Van der Vaart had suddenly become much cheaper, although such a price reduction was later denied by Real Madrid. Due to problems with computer servers used in the transaction between Tottenham and Real Madrid, preventing the necessary paperwork from being completed, Spurs requested special dispensation from the Premier League to allow the transfer to proceed. The Premier League confirmed on 1 September that the transfer had been permitted after they gave Tottenham special dispensation due to 'technical problems'. Rafael Van Der Vaart signed a four-year contract at White Hart Lane. It was announced that Van der Vaart would wear the number 11 shirt for Spurs. Van der Vaart later denied speculation that Rafael Van Der Vaart had been a failure at Real Madrid, claiming that Rafael Van Der Vaart always gave Rafael Van Der Vaart best over the last few years for both club and country, and that Rafael Van Der Vaart wanted to show Rafael Van Der Vaart quality for Rafael Van Der Vaart new club.

Van der Vaart made Rafael Van Der Vaart Premier League debut for Spurs in a 1–1 draw against West Bromwich Albion F.C. on 11 September 2010, and Rafael Van Der Vaart UEFA Champions League bow for the club three days later against SV Werder Bremen, providing an assist for Peter Crouch in a 2–2 draw. Van der Vaart scored Rafael Van Der Vaart first Premier League goal from the penalty spot in a 3–1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. on 18 September 2010. After starting Rafael Van Der Vaart Spurs career by scoring three goals in four Premier League matches, and with a goal and an assist in two Champions League matches, Van der Vaart was named Goal.com World Player of the Week on 4 October 2010. Rafael Van Der Vaart was later named Premier League Player of the Month for October. A hamstring injury kept Van der Vaart out of action for much of December, but Rafael Van Der Vaart returned to the Tottenham side on Boxing Day, scoring both goals in a 2–1 away win over Aston Villa F.C.. On April 20, van der Vaart revived Tottenham's Champions League ambitions by scoring twice to hold North London rivals Arsenal to a 3–3 draw at White Hart Lane. After losing to Manchester City and being knocked out of the Champions League race, Spurs traveled to Anfield. Van der Vaart scored from 25 yards out in a 2–0 win that put Tottenham in position to secure qualification for the Europa League. Rafael Van Der Vaart ended the season as Spurs' top scorer in the Premier League, scoring 13 goals – nearly a quarter of Tottenham's total – whilst also providing the most assists, with 9.

2011–12 season

Van der Vaart scored Rafael Van Der Vaart first two Premier league goals of the season against Wigan Athletic F.C. and Arsenal F.C.
Van der Vaart scored a penalty away against Newcastle United F.C. on 16 October to keep up a good run of goal scoring form and also scored twice in the 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers. On 30 October, Rafael Van Der Vaart continued this brilliant run of scoring form with Rafael Van Der Vaart side's second in a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers, making it six goals in five games for the Dutchman and equalling a Tottenham Hotspur F.C. record by scoring in five consecutive Premier League matches, a record Rafael Van Der Vaart shares with Teddy Sheringham and Robbie Keane. On 31 December Rafael Van Der Vaart scored away to Swansea City A.F.C., converting a Benoit Assou-Ekotto cross.
Van Der Vaart scored a long range effort against Watford in the FA Cup to send Tottenham through to the next round of the competition with a 1 - 0 victory.

International career

Rafael van der Vaart gained the notice of the youth team coaches and was called up for the youth squads. Rafael Van Der Vaart played in the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship with present senior teammates Maarten Stekelenburg and John Heitinga and former Real Madrid teammates Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Arjen Robben.

The 18-year-old Van der Vaart then made Rafael Van Der Vaart senior international debut against Andorra national football team on 6 October 2001. Rafael Van Der Vaart was a member of the squads that participated in UEFA Euro 2004, UEFA Euro 2008, the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Despite figuring prominently in a number of qualifying stage matches, Van der Vaart has had a lack of luck when it came to the final tournament.

Euro 2004

A sub-par performance by the Dutch during their opening game of Euro 2004 persuaded former manager Dick Advocaat to change the side's formation into one which Rafael Van Der Vaart felt the talented Van der Vaart did not fit in to. With Advocaat's new system seemingly working, Van der Vaart would be reduced to play a bit-part role at Euro 2004, as the Netherlands national football team reached the semi-finals.

2006 World Cup

Despite that setback, Van der Vaart produced some superlative performances in the Fußball-Bundesliga 2005-06 the following season, and it seemed that Van der Vaart's turn to shine on the big stage was to finally come — at the 2006 World Cup. However, niggling injury problems resurfaced, and Van der Vaart was not risked by Dutch coach Marco van Basten for the opening World Cup encounter against Serbia and Montenegro national football team. With victory in that opening game, the national team coach would once again decide to continue fielding a Van der Vaart-less lineup. And once again, van der Vaart was reduced to a bit-part role in the squad although since then Rafael Van Der Vaart has become a more regular fixture in the starting XI.

Euro 2008

Van der Vaart was called up for UEFA Euro 2008 despite missing several qualification matches due to an ankle injury. As van Basten had decided to change their formation to 4–2–3–1, Van der Vaart was deployed in the midfield along with Wesley Sneijder and either Dirk Kuyt or Robin van Persie, behind lone striker Ruud van Nistelrooy to great effect. In the opening game of the competition, the Dutch team won 3–0 against the world champions Italy national football team with Van der Vaart playing a role in the build-ups. Van Basten decided to field Rafael Van Der Vaart again in the starting line-up in the next match against France national football team; the Oranje later went on to win 4–1.

2010 World Cup

Despite enduring a tough time at club level, Van der Vaart remained a first-choice player for van Basten's successor Bert van Marwijk in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. On 10 September 2008, Rafael Van Der Vaart ended a 10-month goal drought with a vital strike against Macedonia national football team in a 2–1 win. Rafael Van Der Vaart ended the campaign with 2 goals and several important assists.

On 12 August 2009, Van der Vaart captained the Dutch in the absence of Giovanni van Bronckhorst in a friendly against England national football team. Rafael Van Der Vaart scored the second goal off a Gareth Barry mistake to put the Netherlands two goals up in the first half but Jermain Defoe netted a brace to seal a 2–2 draw.

Van der Vaart was in the starting line-up for the 3 group matches in the 2010 World Cup, against Denmark national football team, Japan national football team and Cameroon national football team, but eventually lost Rafael Van Der Vaart spot in the starting line-up to Rafael Van Der Vaart recently recovered fellow midfielder Arjen Robben after being substituted in the match against Cameroon. Rafael Van Der Vaart was brought off the pitch after giving away a penalty to Cameroon by blocking the ball with Rafael Van Der Vaart arm from a free kick. However Rafael Van Der Vaart made another appearance in the semi-final against Uruguay national football team, after coming on for the injured Demy de Zeeuw. Rafael Van Der Vaart helped Oranje win the match with 3-2, thus sending them to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final. Rafael Van Der Vaart also played in the final against Spain, substituting Nigel de Jong just before injury time. Netherlands lost the game 1-0 to a goal from Andrés Iniesta. Rafael Van Der Vaart was handed the captain's armband during the match, after Giovanni van Bronckhorst was substituted off.

International goals



Outside football

On 10 June 2005, Van der Vaart married Sylvie van der Vaart (née Meis) and on 28 May 2006, their son Damián Rafael was born. Some of the media have described the couple as the "new Beckhams" but both of them denied the claims saying that they prefer to just live a normal life.

In the summer of 2009, Real Madrid wanted to sell Van der Vaart, but the player decided to stay in Madrid because Rafael Van Der Vaart wife was undergoing cancer treatment there. A year later, upon Rafael Van Der Vaart move to England, Van der Vaart stated, "She had a very serious illness and it is true that she had to be treated at the Clinica Quiron. Last season, they wanted me to leave but I couldn't leave for that reason. Now she is well and the only thing that happened was that Madrid wanted to sell and I wanted to get back to enjoying playing football, and Tottenham are a great team that are going to give me the football opportunities that I need."
(2): Eredivisie 2001–02, Eredivisie 2003–04
- KNVB Cup (1): 2001–02 KNVB Cup
- Johan Cruijff-schaal (1): Johan Cruijff-schaal VII

Hamburger SV
- UEFA Intertoto Cup (2): 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup, 2007 UEFA Intertoto Cup

Real Madrid CF
- Supercopa de España (1): 2008 Supercopa de España

International

Netherlands
- FIFA World Cup Runners-Up: 2010 FIFA World Cup Final

Individual

- Ajax Talent of the Year: 1999, 2000, 2001
- Amsterdam Sportsman of the year: 2000
- Amsterdam Sportsman of the year: 2001
- Amsterdam Tournament Most Valuable Player: 2001
- Johan Cruijff Award: 2001
- European Talent of the Year: 2002
- Golden Boy Award: 2003
- Ballon d'Or: Ballon d'Or 2008 – nominated (top 30)
- Premier League Player of the Month (1): 2010-11 Premier League Monthly awards

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_van_der_Vaart

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