Rafael van der Vaart celebrated his birthday by posting one of his favourite goals – against Arsenal.
The 36-year-old retired footballer spent two years at the Gunners’ north London rivals Tottenham where, despite his short stay, is considered a White Hart Lane legend by many.
His arrival from Real Madrid in 2010 stunned supporters on transfer deadline day and he quickly wrote himself into folklore thanks in part to his tendency to score in the north London derby.
Immediately a key player, he displayed his creativity and ability in front of goal straight away, scoring three goals in his first four Premier League games.
So when thanking fans for wishing him a happy birthday, he posted a 2006 Champions League goal he scored for Hamburg against the Gunners with the caption: “Thank you to everyone for all the birthday messages. Here’s one of my favourite goals, against Arsenal!!
“Glad the Champions League is back this week with my clubs Ajax, Real Madrid and Spurs all in action.”
And then came the clincher.
With Spurs preparing to take on Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, Van der Vaart couldn’t resist having a dig at the Gunners playing in the Europa League later in the week, writing: “Wondering who’s playing Thursdays?”
Asked about his goals against Arsenal in an interview with FourFourTwo once, he admitted he never had anything against the club, he just loved Spurs.
“When I joined I tried to learn about the club’s traditions and I soon found out about the magnitude of the match. I always try to immerse myself in the emotions of the fans, and in the derbies against Arsenal I tried to give Spurs fans a little bit of their pride back.
“I wanted them to have something to cheer about at work the next morning.”
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When he retired in 2018, he revealed how much he loved his time at White Hart Lane.
“That was my two very best years, two years of top performance, many competitions.
“I played in a great team with fantastic players, like [Gareth] Bale and [Luka] Modric, which was a pleasure.”
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