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Van der Vaart: Real Betis is a great club, I’m eager to get started


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  • Van der Vaart: Real Betis is a great club, I’m eager to get started

    New Real Betis midfielder Rafael van der Vaart expressed his joy in signing a three-year deal with the recently promoted Andalusians and is eager to start scoring goals and churning out assists in the “best league in the world.”

    Real Betis officially presented van der Vaart on Tuesday after the Dutch international signed a three-year deal with the club and 31-year-old is happy to be close to his family and reignite his career.

    “I’m very glad that I’ve come here. This is a great club and I’m eager to start. For me, this is a dream, because my family lives very close, in Chiclana, and I really like Spanish football.”

    Van der Vaart went on to add that he’s eager to see the stadium and the fans and hopes that Betis can have the greatest success this season.

    “I always play at my 100 %. I want to win and score, and also give out assists. This Stadium is always full so I’m really looking forward to win many matches.”

    Van der Vaart concluded by expressing the hope that his international experience and experience abroad can help Betis and his teammates achieve their goals this season.

    “It’s important because I’ve got a lot of experience. I have to play well, and I like to combine with my teammates to do it so. We need to enjoy, because this is the most beautiful job in the world.

    After his contract with Hamburg was allowed to expire, van der Vaart made it clear that he was determined to make the move back to Spain and play in Andalusia to be closer to his grandfather Rafael Garcia Peci and grandmother Dolores who still live in Chiclana de la Frontera, where his mother Lolita was born.

    While van der Vaart’s first choice was to join Cadiz, the Segunda B side were in no way capable of supporting his salary, narrowing the two eligible teams down to Malaga and Real Betis before Betis won out.

  • #2
    Re: Van der Vaart: Real Betis is a great club, I’m eager to get started

    Haha you must be thrilled!!


    • #3
      Re: Van der Vaart: Real Betis is a great club, I’m eager to get started

      Originalmente publicado por Agu Ver Mensaje
      Haha you must be thrilled!!
      Haha not really. I fear that he is over the top now. He can't play for the full 90 minutes anymore and he is very injury phrone.
      Let's say that I have many doubts if he will be a succes at Betis


      • #4
        Re: Van der Vaart: Real Betis is a great club, I’m eager to get started

        At first listening it sounded like a pledge more suited to Robbie Keane, but Rafael van der Vaart was not joking when he said it was “a dream” to be presented in front of a four-figure crowd at Real Betis’ Estadio Benito Villamarín. For the supporters, Van der Vaart’s arrival was a tonic to follow their swift return to La Liga, and the highest-profile new signing since that of Denilson in 1998; for the player it was a homecoming of sorts, a move closer to his maternal grandparents, who are Spanish and based 80 miles down the E-5 autovia in Chiclana. A public peck on the cheek for his grandmother, Dolores, provided the headline image and its wholesomeness was – except perhaps to second division Cádiz, who are almost close enough to Chiclana for exchanges over the garden fence but were priced out of any move – beyond dispute.

        So Van der Vaart prepares to start life with the fifth club of his career and it should not be seen as a comment about Betis or La Liga that this looks like a winding down. A three-year contract is a golden egg when you are 32 and, while Van der Vaart’s style has not tended to depend on the kind of stamina that fades with age, he has chosen the manner of his exit well. It is a little early for valedictions but there is still, even looking back on a career that has brought 109 international caps and spells at Ajax, Hamburg, Real Madrid and Spurs, something that does not satisfy. How is it that one of the most lavishly gifted No10s of his generation can have only two major trophies – Eredivisie titles won in 2002 and 2004 – to his name and how, in an outbreak of mass honesty that the forthright Van der Vaart might at least have appreciated, could he have been named the biggest flop of the 2014/15 Bundesliga season in a survey of his fellow professionals?

        The grim Hamburg side in which Van der Vaart most recently toiled is a handy analogue to his own atrophy but the signs were there far earlier that a player of his choosy, shirt-out swagger and brio would too often be a square peg in a round hole. Van der Vaart was brilliant at Ajax, departing at 22 as a hero after scoring 63 goals including a tumbling, volleyed backheel against Feyenoord that takes the breath away even now – but his place in the world was in question even then.

        “He’s probably one of the most popular Ajax players of the last 15 years,” says the Dutch journalist Elko Born. “But when he left, it was the consensus that he and Wesley Sneijder could not play together in one team, and Ajax made the decision to go with Sneijder. This was a real Gerrard/Lampard kind of dilemma for people.

        “Remember that Ajax haven’t really played with a real No10 since Jari Litmanen. It’s the same with the Dutch national team, there often wasn’t any space for him in the starting team – despite all his caps.”

        There has always been the nagging sense that Van der Vaart, for all the clarity of his vision and cleanness of his left foot, is an anachronism in a game that affords decreasing levels of indulgence for those dedicated solely to the business of creating. He was shuttled out of Spurs by André Villas-Boas when the more industrious Gylfi Sigurdsson pitched up in 2012, but the warning signs had been there too in a couple of sometimes spectacular seasons overseen by Harry Redknapp. “If I have to chase after an attacking full-back every time, I can’t play my own game to the best of my ability,” he said after a derby against Arsenal in October 2011. Perhaps that was little wonder given that iffy hamstrings have blighted him down the years, but Van der Vaart had done his job, scoring the first goal in a 2-1 win and this was in fact a rare deployment on the flank.

        It was not his first show of impatience during two and a quarter years in London. The previous season, fed up at being replaced in more than two-thirds of Tottenham’s matches, he had called himself “the most substituted player in Europe” and twice walked straight past Redknapp, with whom he was at odds regarding his fitness levels, after coming off. The goals, the flourishes, the moments for which you pay the entrance fee were evident often enough but the capacity to bend to the Premier League’s demands was not and Van der Vaart – perhaps as close to the archetype of a freewheeling ‘Redknapp player’ as they come – never seemed likely to find favour with the more pragmatic Villas-Boas.

        Rafael van der Vaart's complaints during his time at Tottenham included having to track back and being substituted too much by Harry Redknapp.

        Returning to Hamburg was, in hindsight, a mistake – perhaps both on and off the pitch, with Van der Vaart separating from his wife, Sylvie, after admitting to hitting her. It is notable that only one move during his career – in 2008 from the German club to Real Madrid, where he started well but suffered the fate befallen by so many others – has sent him on an upwards trajectory. That holds true after his move to Betis but a return to Spain does at least signal more ambition than a once-mooted move to Major League Soccer or a final fling at Ajax. Van der Vaart held talks about a second spell in Amsterdam but the move fell down, apparently on financial grounds, coming as a disappointment to supporters who had half expected to welcome him home one last time.

        “I think his time at Hamburg and now Betis is used as a tool to reflect on Holland’s, Ajax’s and the Eredivisie’s place in the world of modern football,” says Born. “Apparently, Ajax can’t compete with clubs like Hamburg and Betis anymore. They’ve got much more money, and the Eredivisie is apparently not worth anything. It hasn’t got anything to offer – even to crowd favourites who were born and raised there. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for a lot of fans.”

        The worry is that similar sentiments apply to Van der Vaart’s own place in modern football. Had he been around five, 10 years previously – at the same time as, say, Matt Le Tissier – perhaps he would not have had to be moved around high-profile but quietly sceptical clubs in an effort to find somewhere that would let his talents be. The combination of a leading role at Betis and a rhythmic Spanish style could yet do that for him, and few would bet against him bloodying a few higher-profile noses for Pepe Mel’s side, but the sense that something has not quite been fulfilled will remain. Van der Vaart, in his devil-may-care style, has done things his way and done them brilliantly – but the game itself has always fought back, too.


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