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.
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.
Van der Vaart talking about Harry Maguire on live TV 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/GRARhAqhUI
— Alko 🇷🇺 (@AlkoJuice) February 8, 2022
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.”
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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’.
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.
Thank you to everyone for all the birthday messages. Here’s one of my favourite goals, against Arsenal!!
Glad @ChampionsLeague is back this week with my clubs @AFCAjax @realmadrid and @SpursOfficial all in action. Wondering who’s playing Thursdays? 🤪 pic.twitter.com/qSF3NK73eV
— Rafael van der Vaart (@rafvdvaart) February 11, 2019
When Van der Vaart is on punditry duty, no one is safe… especially Maguire.