Rafael Van der Vaart was always likely to return to Hamburg for the end of his career so him moving back to the Bundesliga was never really a surprise. That he went as soon as last summer and left Tottenham aged just 29 was perhaps a little more odd and when rumours first started about a return to Hamburg last summer, many Spurs fans laughed them off as press speculation.
Van der Vaart has spoken this week to Voetbal International (see left) about his transfer and why it was the right time to go, and he's explained that he just didn't feel a big enough part of the new Tottenham manager's plans. The comments from him may be slightly disingenuous because in Germany they'd been reporting a chance of him going to Hamburg even before Villas Boas took over. The gist at the time was that he wanted to be closer to his wife, but that hasn't proved to be a good thing for the couple who have now separated after a public fight.
"With Villas Boas I had a false start. While with HSV I just felt as though she really needed me... It was a club in need. And I wanted to help.
"During our first conversation (with AVB) he hinted that I had to fight for my place. That in itself is not a problem. I have enough confidence in my abilities. But until that time I was 'the guy' at The Spurs. The contrast with the way Villas-Boas saw it, it was just too big. The club had just bought Sigurdsson who had an advantage, the coach said himself.
"In the same period HSV knocked at the door again. Villas Boas came around shortly afterwards and changed his opinion of me, apparently it was not so smooth with Sigurdsson, but then I had already made my choice. About the club I have no evil words, the atmosphere was great, we had a good team, there is a club being built."
The Dutchman has had a good return with Hamburg but has been hampered by injury, something that has followed his career to a certain degree. Sigurdsson has been used primarily as a substitute and only started 6 Premier League games, but at 23 he has time to improve on that.
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