Rafael van der Vaart: Messi, Maguire, Kane and Werner among nine players he has savaged

Rafael van der Vaart enjoyed a great career as a professional footballer.

The Dutchman played for the likes of Ajax, Real Madrid and Tottenham before hanging up his boots in 2018.

Van der Vaart decided to remain in football as he became a pundit. He has worked in England for Sky Sports and regularly appears on TV in his native country.

He’s developed a reputation for saying exactly what he thinks. He has no filter.

For that reason, he may well be the most brutal pundit in football in the present day.

As Van der Vaart celebrates his 39th birthday, we’ve listed nine times he was particularly savage when working as a pundit.

Harry Maguire

Van der Vaart is Maguire’s biggest critic in the world. There is no doubt about it. He’s gone on countless rants about the United defender in the past.

“When I go to see an amateur club on Sunday, I can find three players who can play like him (Maguire). I mean that,” claimed Van der Vaart in 2019.

“We are talking about a €90 million (£80 million) signing here. (If Maguire is worth €90 million) then Van Dijk is worth €300 million (£258 million).”

In an appearance on Ziggo Sport in November 2021, Van der Vaart also called Maguire ‘really s***’.

He also said Maguire was the worst player in England’s Nations League campaign in 2019.

Lionel Messi

Not even Messi is safe from Van der Vaart’s wrath. The Dutchman slammed Messi after his performance for PSG vs Man City in November 2021.

He said, per Marca: “It makes me sad. It’s a question of desire. Does he [Messi] want it or not?

“When you compare him to Cristiano Ronaldo, one is fighting to take his team to the next level – and one isn’t.

“Messi walks now and then. I look at him and think, ‘Aren’t you ashamed?’ I’m just getting annoyed with Messi.”

PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 19: Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain seen during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig at Parc des Princes on October 19, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Timo Werner

Van der Vaart is not Werner’s biggest fan. He called him a ‘blind horse’ in April 2021.

“He [Werner] is super-fast, and that might be nice in an away game when you’re under pressure, but it’s just putting your head down and running around,” he said, per the Mirror.

“Werner is really a blind horse. He has already proven that in Germany.”

Later that December, he threatened to walk out the studio when Werner was compared to Van Persie.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 12: Timo Werner of Chelsea during the Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 12, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Manchester United’s midfielders

Van der Vaart slammed Man United’s midfielders when asked whether Donny van de Beek should continue to fight for his place at the club.

“Wait? Patience? The players in front of him can’t even kick a marble,” he said, per the Daily Star.

Harry Kane

Van der Vaart played alongside Kane at Tottenham and he recalled his thoughts when the English striker broke into the first-team.

“When Harry first came to train with us he was only 18 years old,” said Van der Vaart. “He was on the same pitch as us and joined in at training with the first-team squad.

“And when the ball was passed to him, every time I could not believe how he tried to control it.

“I swear, I said to my then team-mate [Heurelho] Gomes, ‘He can’t kick a f****** ball’.”

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Van der Vaart was not impressed when Ter-Stegen couldn’t prevent Leroy Sane’s long-range effort last year.

Van Der Vaart said, per ThickAccent: “A goalkeeper that decides not to use his hands. It looks like whenever Ter Stegen has to face Manuel Neuer, he’s getting nervous”.

Spain

Spain had a tought start to their Euro 2020 campaign as they drew both of their opening group games.

Van der Vaart was critical of Luis Enrique’s side and hoped his nation would draw them later in the competition.

He said, per the Daily Mail: “Spain is horrible. I hope we (Holland) will play against them.

“There is nothing in this team. All they do is switch from one side to the other. They don’t even have a player who knows how to make a final pass.”

Pochettino to Man United close?! Find out more on The Football Terrace…

Thibaut Courtois

At the back end of last year, there was a lot of talk among players and coaches that they needed a rest. Van der Vaart got involved after Courtois’ complaints.

“I think it’s silly,” Van der Vaart said, per Joe.co.uk.

“You then have six months of vacation. You only play football, a club pays you a lot of money… They are whining.”

Van der Vaart then suggested Courtois can’t complain as all he does as a goalkeeper is ‘stand there a bit’.

Arsenal

And of course, as a former Spurs player, Van der Vaart has mocked Arsenal in the past.

Back in 2019, Van der Vaart posted a video of one of his favourite goals – which came against the Gunners.

He then made reference to Spurs playing in the Champions League while Arsenal were playing on Thursday in the Europa League.

When Van der Vaart is on punditry duty, no one is safe… especially Maguire.

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