Our former star Rafael van der Vaart has told FourFourTwo how a nap almost cost him his last-minute move to Tottenham in August 2010
Rafa found himself surplus to requirements at Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid following the arrival of Werder Bremen’s Mesut Ozil, with Bayern Munich reportedly pulling out of a deal for the Dutchman a day before the transfer window closed.
He was prepared to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu and fight for his place, but when Harry Redknapp had an £8 million offer for the midfielder accepted only a few hours ahead of the deadline, he had a quick decision to make. Or at least he should have…
Speaking exclusively in the FourFourTwo magazine, the 35-year-old explained: “It was very last minute. Jose Mourinho had been honest about my chances, telling me they had bought Mesut Ozil to play in my position.
He added: “He said I could stay, but that I wasn’t in his starting XI. At that point I was still keen to stay at Real Madrid for another season, so I headed to a training camp with the Dutch national team.But at around 4pm on deadline day, my lawyer called me to say that Tottenham were interested in signing me. I asked him if I could think about it. He replied that I had to decide within two hours. I started to evaluate everything, then took a little nap…
Rafa also added:“Suddenly I was jolted awake by the phone going off. It was about 5.40pm and my lawyer was on the phone again, telling me that I had to decide there and then.I thought for a split second, then said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it’. I had no time to overthink it or discuss it with anybody – it was pure intuition. Very soon I realised how happy I was with the decision. From the first moment I arrived at Spurs Lodge, I felt at home.”
Van der Vaart is now playing for Midtjylland in Denmark following a short stint at Real Betis. He made 77 outings for Us and was top-scorer for the club in 2010/11.
The article adds how the Dutchman warmly of the man who brought him to White Hart Lane, explaining that Harry Redknapp’s old-school managerial style suited his game very well at the time.
“He was a magical guy – a father figure – but Harry could also be rock-hard,”:reveals Van der Vaart. “During a team talk, he would pull out a little piece of paper on which he had written down the starting line-up and then say things to us like, ‘Just give the ball to Luka [Modric], then Luka can try to find Rafa, and you will win the game’.
He added: “Then, if we’d played a really good first half, he would openly praise you, saying things like, ‘F**king hell, Rafa, what a player!’ He gave you a boost – you would run faster for someone like him. Harry Redknapp’s style suited my own very well.”
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