Ex-Tottenham and Real Madrid ace Rafael van der Vaart retires as injury ruins dream of playing while 'becoming a grandad'

RAFAEL VAN DER VAART has announced his sudden retirement from football after suffering a new injury.

The former Tottenham and Real Madrid midfielder earned 109 caps for Holland during his illustrious career but said he was forced to quit after suffering yet another fitness issue during training with Danish club Esbjerg fB.

The 35-year-old had already decided that this season would be his last as a professional.

But he chose to retire early having spent the entire campaign recovering from injuries and regaining match fitness.

He said: "I do need to stop now. I am not here just to rehabilitate but to play football. Otherwise I would lose all fun and I want to preempt that moment.

"I would have loved to become a granddad while playing football, but unfortunately that is unattainable.



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Van der Vaart was part of the Dutch squad who reached the 2010 World Cup final.Credit: AP:Associated Press

"I can only be grateful at this moment for all those years in which I could play football."
Van der Vaart even had some kind words to say about his spell at Spurs, who signed him from Real in 2010.

He ended up playing 63 matches in his two-season career at White Hart Lane, scoring 24 goals.
He said: "All those players, staff and fans, from the [Johan Cruyff] ArenA, the Volkspark stadium [in Hamburg], White Hart Lane up to the Bernabeu, I only have warm feelings about it all. It was a great time."

The Dutchman started his career at the age of ten at the famed Ajax academy, where he also made his professional debut in the year 2000.
After playing for Hamburg, Madrid, Spurs, and Real Betis, he moved to Denmark as he wanted to be closer to his current Dutch girlfriend Estavana Polman, who is a professional handball player.
Van der Vaart was previously known for his relationship with the stunning Sylvie Meis.

After an unlucky spell at FC Midtjylland where he was mostly benched due to injuries and not being match-fit, Van der Vaart moved to Esbjerg fB, but he only managed four appearances for the side due to injury.


A post shared by Estavana Polman (@estavana)

The playmaker added: "I managed to win trophies and played for championships, both with my clubs, the Dutch national team, and as an individual.

"In all those years I have played with and against so many great players in the most beautiful stadiums. I could never have dreamt that as a little boy."

The attacking midfielder scored 25 goals in over a century of appearances for the Dutch national side and appeared at five major tournaments for his country – including as a substitute in the 2010 World Cup final defeat to Spain.

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