Declaring over the weekend that Tottenham had been the highlight of his career, despite playing for Real Madrid, Rafael Van der Vaart always has lovely things to say about his time at White Hart Lane.
The 34-year-old midfielder, now playing in Denmark with FC Midtjylland, made 77 appearances during his two year stint at Spurs, scoring 28 goals and assisting teammates 18 times, before being sold to Hamburger SV in Germany for a £2m profit.
Playing in the Netherlands, England, Germany and Spain with Real Betis, the former Tottenham attacking midfielder certainly has an impressive résumé, and his move to Denmark certainly could be seen as a strange way to see off his career.
Van der Vaart doesn’t care, though.
Speaking to BT, he said: “You know what? I’m just a regular guy who likes to play football. I’ve never worried about what others think of me, and that hasn’t changed just because I’m not in Denmark.”
Now based pretty much slap bang in the middle of Jutland, a whole island away from Copenhagen, the player actually enjoys being far away from the buzz of a capital city, which he experienced during his time at both Tottenham and Real Madrid.
He continued: “I really like it. It’s a bit more quiet, I can walk the streets without any problems, people are friendly and leave me alone, so it’s great. Of course, it’s not that I don’t feel like talking to people, but I can be myself, and it’s a wonderful feeling.”
While the standard of football might not compare to that played in the Premier League or La Liga, he relishes the challenge of playing football every week, and ‘wants to win something with FC Midtjylland’.
He added: “I must admit that there have been times when I’ve thought: ‘Wow! It’s not the kind of football I like to play’. In my eyes, we are a team that needs to have the ball. We would like to build from the back.”
However, he wouldn’t be anywhere else right now: “It’s nice, we (him and his girlfriend Estavana Polman) are truly happy. Life is good in Denmark. My son often comes to see us from Hamburg, so we would like to stay”.
The former Tottenham star is a great example that you don’t have to finish your career with a big wage packet to be happy. You just need to find the right place, and it seems Van der Vaart has found it.