Rafael van der Vaart
Full name : Rafael Ferdinand van der Vaart
Nicknames : Raf, Raffie
Date & Place of Birth : 11th February 1983, Heemskerk
Known as : Footballer (central midfielder)
Private : Married to television personality Sylvie Meis, son Damián
Famous statement : “Our family is priority number 1.”
Did you know that…: Rafael grew up in a trailer park?
The young Rafael van der Vaart was strongly encouraged by his dad Ramon once he realised his son has ‘a velvet left foot’. Rafael’s talent soon resulted in him joining Ajax’s youth teams, where he played with much older boys. The Amsterdam team gave him the ‘talent of the year’ title in 1999 and he played his first away game with Ajax-1 in 2000 at the tender age of 17. A year and a half later it was time to join the Orange team too. The honourable ‘Golden Boy’ title as European talent of the year followed in 2003. This year proved to be a top year on all fronts, as this is also when Rafael met and fell in love with model Sylvia Meis. The couple married two years later and left for Hamburg, where Rafael would be playing for HSV. A surprising choice, as this team isn’t known as one of the top clubs. Rafael proves his outstanding technique amid the fierce German competition.
Rafael is on cloud nine when his son Damián is born in 2006. He continues to develop well as a footballer and Real Madrid has shown a keen interest in him. Rafael doesn’t let the opportunity to play in his mother’s country of birth pass him by. Although at this point things are not going that smoothly: his career has hit a rough patch and Sylvie is diagnosed with breast cancer. Rafael signs for Tottenham Hotspur in London once Sylvie has successfully completed her treatment. Again not one of the top teams, but one which does very well in the British competition with Rafael on its side. The all-round footballer is also playing an increasingly more important role in the Dutch national team as a result of his clever game. Not particularly surprising if you have played 90 international matches and secured 17 goals in just eleven years.