Rafael Ferdinand van der Vaart is a Dutch footballer born on February 11, 1983, in Heemskerk, Netherlands. He plays as an Attacking Midfielder but can also help as a Second Striker.
He is a strong player in the middle of the field and is seen as one of the Netherlands’ best players. He won the Golden Boy award in 2003 and was named the Dutch Football Talent of the Year in 2000.
In 1987, Van der Vaart started playing football with a local team called De Kennemer. At age 10, he joined AFC Ajax’s youth academy and quickly showed everyone how talented he was.
Because of how good he was, he made it to the first team when he was only 17 years old, in July 2000, and also to the Netherlands U17 team. He played for the Netherlands at the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2001, held in Argentina.
He was quickly put on the Netherlands U19 team, where he played eight times and scored two goals. Many people thought he was as good as the great Johan Cruyff because of how he played for Ajax.
The young player was quickly put on the Netherlands U21 team, where he played four times and scored twice.
Van der Vaart made his international debut for the Netherlands against Andorra on October 6, 2001. The Netherlands won the game by a score of 4-0.
During the 2001-02 season, he also helped Ajax win the Dutch Cup and become the Dutch champion.
Van der Vaart became one of Ajax’s biggest stars and one of the most well-known players in the Netherlands. During the 2004-05 season, he was named team captain. He played in 156 games for the club, scoring 63 goals and setting up 26 others.
He won the Dutch Super Cup and the Dutch Championship with Ajax in the 2003-2004 season.
Because of injuries and poor play at Ajax, he left in July 2005 to play for Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga. In his first season with the club, he scored the most goals and helped the team win the UEFA Intertoto Cup and finish third in the German league.
He was made captain for the 2006-07 season, but it was a forgettable one because van der Vaart got hurt a lot, and Hamburger ended up seventh in the league.
Before he signed a contract with Real Madrid at the end of the 2007-08 season, he had played for the team 199 times, scored 66 goals, and set up 55 others.
He got his first hat trick at Real Madrid against Sporting de Gijon when Madrid beat them 7-1.
In 2007-08, he won the Spanish Super Cup with Madrid.
He was a crucial player in the middle of the field. In 73 games, he scored 12 goals and set up 11 others.
Before returning to Hamburger SV in August 2012, he played 77 games for Spur, scored 28 goals, and had 18 assists.
Later, in June 2015, he joined the Spanish club Real Betis for free, but he only played nine times for the team.
Van der Vaart signed a two-year deal with FC Midtjylland in August 2016. He played 20 times for the club and scored two goals.
Van der Vaart has been on the Netherlands national football team 109 times and has scored 25 goals.