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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 3, 2008

Hamburg announce Van Der Vaart Madrid deal

HAMBURG, August 4 (Bundesliga) - Rafael van der Vaart has left Hamburg for Real Madrid, the German club announced on Monday.

Hamburg's confirmation that the deal had gone through came shortly after the player himself admitted he was set for the Bernabeu on his own personal website.

Van der Vaart, whose mother is Spanish, said: 'Last night everything came together and I am now moving to Real Madrid.

'As everybody knows I have always wanted to move to Spain because I have a strong bond with that country. Now I'm going to play for Real Madrid...it's a dream come true.

'Tomorrow afternoon I will be presented at Real Madrid. This will be the start of a new chapter in my life. I will do everything to help the team and the club to win trophies.'

Van der Vaart has been linked with the Spanish champions for the past couple of months but the clubs had failed to reach agreement on a fee, with Hamburg rejecting bids of six and nine million euros for the 25-year-old.

Madrid's need to reinforce their midfield intensified on Sunday after Van der Vaart's international team-mate Wesley Sneijder suffered a knee injury in the Emirates Cup defeat to Arsenal which reports suggest could keep him out for up to six months.

That has prompted Madrid to return with an offer of 13 million euros for Van der Vaart, whose contract includes a clause which allows him to leave for just 1.5 million euros in 12 months' time.

Hamburg confirmed the deal had gone through on Monday afternoon.

'HSV and Rafael have enjoyed three successful years together,' said chairman Bernd Hoffmann.

'Rafael was the captain of the team and provided some special football moments with his excellent performances.

'We wish him a lot of success with his new challenge.'

Director of sport Dietmar Beiersdorfer added: 'Rafael has developed into one of Europe's top players while at HSV and, with his individual class, he played a decisive role in the positive development of HSV.

'We wish him all the best for the future.'

Van der Vaart was left out of the Hamburg team for the Emirates Cup, when Real Madrid were one of Hamburg's opponents.

He has spent three years at Hamburg after moving to Germany from Ajax.

And he admits it is a wrench to leave the HSV-Arena, adding: 'Looking back at the last couple of years, I'm extremely happy that I've had the chance to experience playing for HSV.

'No club, and no set of fans will treat you with more hospitality than they do.

'Thanks very much for that - (his wife) Sylvie and I will never forget you.'

Van der Vaart will be fondly remembered by the Hamburg faithful after scoring 29 goals in 74 games to fire them into the Champions League in his first season when he top-scored with nine goals.

He helped them finish fourth last season to earn them a place in the UEFA Cup.

Madrid later confirmed the transfer on official club website, declaring the player has agreed a five-year contract at the Bernabeu.

He will undergo a medical and be presented on Tuesday at 1300 local time.

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