Rafael van der Vaart doesn’t remember Tottenham’s last visit to Real Madrid too fondly but he believes Spurs 2017 have a trump card his 2011 team lacked.
Peter Crouch’s late challenge on Marcelo in 2011 lead to a second booking and was promptly dismissed which contributed Harry Redknapp’s side suffering two Champions League quarter-final legs of humiliation and defeat.
After Crouch was sent off, the Dutchman lead the line only to be replaced on 46 minutes by Jermain Defoe.
“I was angry after, of course, in the changing room to be honest I found it difficult to speak,” Van der Vaart told Press Association Sport.
“It all turned on that red card. We had started so well in the Champions League, it was really something special that year. It was a hard one to take.”
We took the tournament by storm inspired by the power and pace of Gareth Bale and craft of Luka Modric.
Bale (If fit) and Modric will both of course be in Madrid colours when Mauricio Pochettino’s team walk out at the Bernabeu on Tuesday and Van der Vaart says the current squad have something extra.
“We had four or five stand-out players you come to the stadium to watch but now with Tottenham you come for the whole team,” Van der Vaart said.
“They need to use that against Madrid because this is the biggest difference now and also their biggest strength. They are a fantastic team.”
Van der Vaart’s is now at Danish club FC Midtjylland, however it was at Spurs under Harry Redknapp, that Rafa thinks his creative talents were most allowed to blossom.
“What a manager, he just made us enjoy our games,” Van der Vaart said.
“Before Real Madrid, the team-talk I remember was similar to always – he just said, ‘they are a great team, no doubt, we have a great team too. We have great players in here and on our day we can beat them’.
“That was how he looked at football and I like a manager who sees the game in that way. It was true but we also needed 11 against 11 to have a chance.”
On the regular Kane to Madrid links the Rafa said;”The thing is nobody says no to Real Madrid,”
“But when I see Harry Kane now at Tottenham, the club also want to be bigger and bigger, winning the league, the Champions League, with a new stadium. There is so much to play for.
“I hope he will stay. Real Madrid of course is something special but Spurs are special to him too.”
What a player Rafa was, It’s nice to see him talk so positively about the club, and hopefully he will be right.
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