10 things you need to know about Rafael van der Vaart

Tottenham have finally completed the signing of Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, after the Premier League ratified his move from Real Madrid . But what do we know about the man who only two days ago almost completed an £18m move to Bayern Munich? MirrorFootball 's Dan Silver has the answers...

1) Rafael Ferdinand van der Vaart was born in Heemskerk, northern Holland, on February 11, 1983. Despite having a Spanish mother, the attacking midfielder plays his international football for the Netherlands.

2) He enjoyed a Romany lifestyle as a child and used to pretend to be Brazilian ace Romario in kick-abouts on the caravan park. Although Van der Vaart claims to have been a Manchester United fan since the Mark Hughes era. No news on whether he switched allegiance to Spurs when Klinsmann joined.

3) He joined the world famous Ajax academy as a 10-year old and progressed trough the ranks alongside fellow Dutch internationals Wesley Sneijder and Everton star Johnny Heitinga.

4) He made his Ajax debut aged just 17 in a 1–1 draw with FC Den Bosch on April 19, 2000. The following season Van der Vaart was voted European Talent of the Year by the CalcioManager website, but his burgeoning career was hampered by a serious knee injury sustained in the 2001-02 season. He eventually required an operation that removed his entire meniscus (we have no idea what that actually means, but it sure sounds painful...). He still managed to score outrageous goals like this little back-heel beauty, mind:

5) He left Ajax in controversial circumstances. First Van der Vaart was injured in a collision with team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic that may or may not have been premeditated (either way, the Swede was transferred to Juventus soon after). Then a game against Den Haag had to be halted due to incessant chants from the away end aimed at Van der Vaart's then girlfriend (now wife), VJ Sylvie Meis..

6) After making 141 appearances, scoring 50 goals and landing two league titles and one domestic cup, he eventually left Ajax for relatively lowly Hamburg in June 2005. Playing in a more advanced role, Van der Vaart scored an impressive 48 goals during his three seasons in the Bundesliga, earning himself a lucrative move to Real Madrid in August 2008.

7) After a flying start at the Bernabeu that included a debut goal against Numancia and a career-first hat-trick in the 7-1 demolition of Sporting Gijón, Van der Vaart struggled to make an impression in Madrid. Onetime Spurs boss Juande Ramos tended to use the Dutchman as an impact substitute while his successor Manuel Pellegrini initially dismissed Van der Vaart altogether and refused to give him a squad number at the start of the 2009-10 season. He managed to work his way back into the Chilean's plans, however, and has now notched up 70 appearances for Los Merengues. And, as this skills compilation proves, he can't half play a bit...

8) Despite having won over 80 caps - the first coming as an 18 year-old in October 2001 against Andorra - Van der Vaart han's really made an impact for Holland on the biggest stages. He was dropped from the side after a disappointing first game of Euro 2004, hampered by injury at the 2006 World Cup and failed to consistently hold down a place in the side that narrowly lost the 2010 World Cup final to Spain. Van der Vaart has still bagged 16 goals for the Oranjes, though, including one against Fabio Capello's England side in a 2-2 friendly draw in Amsterdam in August 2009.

9) He married Sylvie in October 2005 and became a father in May 2006 when son Damián Rafae was born. On his official website, Van der Vaart lists meeting his wife in March 2003 as one of his greatest moments (the big softie). All of which, though, is a convenient excuse for us to publish gratuitous pictures of one of Europe's finest WAGs. Gentlemen, crack open a beer and settle down for this one...

10) Rafael van der Vaart is unlikely to grace any of London's super clubs any time soon (he adventurously claims his favourite music is 'Top 40'), but he does at least have some more unconventional interests outside of football. Campaigning Dutch political journalistic turned politician Peter R de Vries is his all-time hero - which should make for some interesting banter in the Spurs dressing room on match days...

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