I miss Rafa!
A little piece of me died today. I found myself reading Rafa Van Der Vaar'ts wikipedia page. For some odd reason, I had an immediate twinge of sadness.
I know many people will say that we miss Modric more. But in terms of attitude and a big game mentality, no one comes close to Rafa. As the North London derby gets closer, I am reminded even more of the qualities he brought to Spurs. He always played so well against Arsenal, raising his game as if this fixture meant even more to him. It greatly endeared him to me, and I can't help thinking that the special talent we let go in the summer was not Modric, but VDV and his superior footballing brain.
As I watch Dempsey run around ineffectually and Sigurdsson fall down the pecking order, my heart cries out for the spirit, technique and smile with which Rafa always played. Even when his free kicks and corners were rubbish, he always took responsibility for the ball and tried to initiate moves forward, finding space around the pitch and having the one true measure of a world class player, the ability to be in the right place at the right time in the opposition penalty area.
I know looking back helps know one. But perhaps we will be more appreciative of a special talent the next time we have one. I know I will.
Written by Tactically Challenge