Rafael Ferdinand van der Vaart (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈraːfaːɛl vɑn dɛr ˈvaːrt]; born 11 February 1983) is a Dutch professional footballer who plays for Danish club FC Midtjylland and the Netherlands national team as an attacking midfielder.
Van der Vaart began his career at Ajax's youth academy and worked his way into the first team, debuting as a 17-year-old. Known for his playmaking skills, he drew comparisons to Johan Cruyff. He was named Dutch Football Talent of the Year and became the first recipient of the Golden Boy Award while at the club. He moved to Bundesliga club Hamburger SV, then to Real Madrid, then on to Tottenham Hotspur before returning to Hamburg in 2012.
Van der Vaart earned 109 caps for the Netherlands between 2001 and 2013. He represented the nation at three UEFA European Championships and two FIFA World Cups.Close