Rafael Van Der Vaart Chooses His Best XI Teammates With One Scandalous Inclusion

It’s 10 legends and one tall Englishman, with no room for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Before he retired a month ago, Rafael van der Vaart's career took him to some of the greatest clubs in the world, where he played with some of the legends of the game. He started in Ajax and went on to play with Hamburg, Real Madrid, Tottenham and Betis while also appearing more than 100 times for the Dutch national team.

After his recent retirement due to injuries stacking up having last played with Midtjylland and Esbjerg, Van der Vaart spoke with Voetbal International about the best XI of teammates he played with over his nearly 20-year career. 

The attacking midfielder had plenty of options, but ultimately went with this list:

Rafael van der Vaart Best XI

Rafael van der Vaart Best XI. Photo: Voetbal International | YouTube

Normally we don’t put too much stock into these Best XI lists, but that’s a pretty loaded squad right there. Though you may have noticed one oddity in the starting XI — at central striker.

Van der Vaart played with some of the greatest strikers of the last two decades — players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, Ruud van Nistlerooy, Patrick Kluivert, Robin van Persie, Raul and Emmanuel Adebayor.

But Van der Vaart chose 6-7 Englishman Peter Crouch as his central striker. 

Embed from Getty Images

Crouchy and VdV teamed up at Tottenham for two years and the Englishman clearly made an impression on the Dutchman. Crouch is more often known for his goofy looks, Twitter comedy gold and obscene height. But he is actually a pretty decent footballer, with more skills than his lanky frame would suggest.

But to choose Crouch over some of the other choices seems a bit odd, even if Crouch did supply Van der Vaart with a lot of assists during their short time together. 

The rest of the team is solid gold, however.

In goal is Edwin van der Sar, protected by the four-man defense of Marcelo, Cristian Chivu, Ledley King and Sergio Ramos. The midfield is out of this world with Gareth Bale, Guti and recent Ballon d’Or recipient Luka Modric. Up top is the aforementioned Crouch flanked by Cristiano Ronaldo and Arjen Robben. 

Perhaps more surprising than any other choice on the Rafael van der Vaart Best XI from our completely unbiased American perspective: Clint Dempsey didn't make the cut after a brief spell together at Tottenham. 

Videos you might like