Johan Cruyff has criticised the way Hamburg are utilising Rafael van der Vaart as they battle against relegation from the Bundesliga.
The Netherlands legend believes that his compatriot’s talents are going to waste and that Hamburg could pay the ultimate price by losing their top-flight status.
Van der Vaart returned to Hamburg in August 2012 after a spell in the Premier League with Tottenham but things have not gone to plan for them this season.
With six games to go Hamburg sit second bottom, two points from safety, and are in real danger of being relegated for the first time.
Mirko Slomka is their fourth coach of the season and Cruyff insists the German is failing to get the best out of Van der Vaart.
“Hamburg is a problem for Rafael van der Vaart,” Cruyff told the Hamburger Morgenpost.
“It’s just not good that he plays in a weak team. Van der Vaart needs to do a lot of running in Hamburg, and that’s not one of his strengths.
“Van der Vaart is a very good footballer; his strength is to play football.”
The Netherlands international has made 23 league appearances for Hamburg this season, and is expected to be part of Louis van Gaal’s national squad for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.