Rafael van der Vaart wants Tottenham return in a coaching capacity
Former Tottenham forward Rafael van der Vaart has told Press Association Sport that he wants to return to the club as a coach.
Van der Vaart spent two seasons at Tottenham, scoring 24 goals in 63 Premier League games, after joining from Tuesday's opponents Real Madrid on deadline day in August 2010.
The former Netherlands international quickly became a crowd favourite at White Hart Lane and has since said he regrets leaving the club to return to Hamburg in 2012.
Van der Vaart, 34, is still playing for Danish club FC Midtjylland, but is attracted by the idea of a return to Tottenham's youth setup, like former teammate Scott Parker, who is now the under-18s coach at the club.
"I love working with young players and if I do coaching, Tottenham would be a good place because it is always in my heart," Van der Vaart, who will be Spurs' guest of honour for the Champions League game against Real Madrid at Wembley next month, said. "Whenever I can I watch their games on television. I still have a special feeling. That feeling, it never goes away."
Tottenham face Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, and Van der Vaart was part of Harry Redknapp's Spurs team that lost 4-0 there in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg in April 2011.
"We had four or five standout players you come to the stadium to watch, but now with Tottenham you come for the whole team," Van der Vaart said. "They need to use that against Madrid because this is the biggest difference now and also their biggest strength. They are a fantastic team."
Van der Vaart said the loss to Madrid was hard to take, especially as Peter Crouch was sent off in the opening 10 minutes.
"I was angry after [the defeat], of course," he said "In the changing room, to be honest, I found it difficult to speak. It all turned on that red card. We had started so well in the Champions League, it was really something special that year. It was a hard one to take."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.