Rafael van der Vaart confirms retirement from professional playing career
FOOTBALL By Robert Abong'o | November 5th 2018
Former Real Madrid and Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has announced his retirement from professional football.
Van der Vaart, who plays as an attacking midfielder was under contract with Danish side Esbjerg fB.
The 35-year-old revealed to European news outlet De Telegraaf that he was calling time on his illustrious 18-year career.
"I just have to stop now. I am not here to rehabilitate, but to play football. The fun will be different and that's what I want to be. I wanted to become a football grandpa, but unfortunately that is not the case,” said the midfielder.
“At this moment I can only be grateful for all the years I was allowed to play football. All those players, staff and fans, from the ArenA, the Volksparkstadion, White Hart Lane to the Bernabeu, I just have warm feelings about it. It was a great time," he concluded.
Van der Vaart made his senior debut for Dutch side Ajax just at the tender age of 17 and went on to make 117 appearances for them. He scored 52 goals.
In 2005, he moved to Germany, to Hamburg FC, where he made a name for himself, scoring 30 goals in just 74 appearances.
After spending three seasons in Germany, he signed for European heavyweights Real Madrid. All wasn’t rosy at Madrid since he only made 58 appearances, scoring only 11 times.
His Los Blancos career didn’t last long and two seasons later, he signed for Tottenham Hotspurs in England. For Spurs, he scored 24 times in 63 appearances. He called time on his stay at Spurs in 2012 and moved back to Hamburg.
Between 2015 and 2018, van der Vaart has played for Real Betis, Midtjylland and Esbjerg.
He was also part of the Dutch squad that made it to the World Cup final in South Africa in 2010.
He also represented the Orange in three European tournaments.
AFCON set for knockout stage