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Rafa familiar with Lions of Bilbao

Posted on 5 August 2011  - 12:00

Rafa van der Vaart knows more than most about the quality of Athletic Bilbao ahead of our final pre-season friendly against the Spanish side on Saturday.

Rafa van der Vaart knows more than most about the quality of Athletic Bilbao ahead of our final pre-season friendly against the Spanish side on Saturday.

Fifth in La Liga last term, Rafa faced the eight-times Spanish champions from the Basque country during his time at Real Madrid between 2008-2010.

As expected, Madrid had the better of four meetings with Athletic in Rafa’s time at the Bernabeu but Los Leones (the Lions) scored one notable triumph in January, 2010 - a 1-0 victory at San Memes was one of only four defeats in La Liga for Madrid that season as they finished just three points behind Barcelona.

“They have a good team, they can play well and in many ways they are like Tottenham because the supporters are fanatical,” said Rafa.

“Last season was a great year for them. Normally they are in the mid-table but now they finished right up there in fifth, a fantastic year.

“That was a great finish for them and they have quality, to finish fifth means they are one of the best teams in the Spanish league. They also have some very good players, Martinez is captain of the Under-21s and Llorente is a good striker.”

If you are outside the UK and Ireland, you can watch a live stream of Saturday's friendly against Athletic Bilbao on Spurs TV Online. Full details...CLICK HERE...