My top three - Rafa van der Vaart
Mon 14 June 2021, 13:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Next up for our summer feature, 'my top three', is Dutch master Rafa van der Vaart...
Rafa walked through the gates at our old Spurs Lodge training ground on deadline day, 2010. He finished his first season with 15 goals - eight created by Peter Crouch - and lit up White Hart Lane with performances, particularly in the derby against Arsenal and in the Champions League. Rafa scored another 13 goals in 2011/12 before returning to Hamburg in 2012.
Here are his top three - goals...
3 - Arsenal v Spurs - 10.11.10
Number three for Rafa is the first goal he scored against Arsenal, the equaliser from the penalty spot as we came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 on 10 November, 2010 - our first win at the Emirates.
Rafa: “It maybe wasn’t the best goal, but the pressure I felt at that moment, knowing we hadn’t won there for almost 20 years, was incredible. It was a great comeback after going 2-0 down, I got two assists and the penalty. After taking the penalty, I was so relieved because, to be honest, I was so nervous. I was so happy to see it go in and to see the fans crying because they were so happy. That’s why it’s in my top three.”
2 - Liverpool v Spurs - 15.05.11
Next up, a sweet volley from the edge of the box at the Kop end as we beat Liverpool at Anfield on 15 May, 2011, the penultimate weekend of a fantastic 2010/11 season.
Rafa: “It was a corner kick, Luka Modric took it, Liverpool headed it away and I was a little outside the box, good control with my right foot - that never normally happened - and it was a fantastic shot, a little deflection, but it went in. That felt great. It was a really important game as well, and we won at Anfield. So, that’s my second goal.”
1 - Spurs v Villa - 02.10.10
Three home games, four goals and we were starting to see a pattern - Rafa ready to pounce on any knockdown from Peter Crouch. On this occasion, he got onto Crouchy’s header, dummied Richard Dunne and slotted against Villa on 2 October, 2010 - Rafa's number one...
Rafa: “My best goal was against Villa at home in October, 2010. It was a long ball into Peter Crouch, he headed it, I was there for the second ball, great control, Richard Dunne was sliding in, I waited a little bit and scored the winner. My first five, six goals, especially at home, were from lay-offs from Peter Crouch. It was so difficult to defend him - and that was my best goal for Spurs.”