Amsterdam, Nov 6: Former Tottenham Hotspur and Netherlands playmaker Rafael van der Vaart has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect after latest injury setbacks.
The 35-year-old started his career with Dutch giant and later went onto playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world which includes Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid.
Since 2015, the Dutch footballer struggled for game time, catching in brief spells with Real Betis, FC Midtjylland, and finally Esbjerg this season. However, the two times Eredivisie winner only managed a mere 55 minutes till now because of consistent injury issues and being frustrating on the rehab table, the player now has announced his immediate retirement from football, insisting he is unwilling to waste his year-long contract by being injured only.
"I just have to stop now. I'm not here to rehabilitate, but to play football," Van der Vaart told.
"I would have wanted to become a football grandpa, but that is not the case. I can only be grateful for all the years I was allowed to play football, all those players, staff, fans of the Arena, Volksparkstadion, White Hart Lane, to the Bernabeu.
"I just have warm feelings about it. It was a great time.
"I won prizes and played championships, both with my clubs, the Dutch national team and individually.
"In all those years, I have been able to play football with and against so many great players in the most beautiful stadiums. I had never dared to dream of that as a young boy."
Van der Vaart made his senior football debut for Ajax at 17 and since then has played over 500 matches for eight sides.
He also had represented the Netherlands at three European Championships and two World Cups, earning 109 caps which put him fourth in the Netherlands national team's all-time appearance charts. He last pulled on an orange jersey in November 2013 but only officially announced his retirement as an international player last month.