Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart insisted he has nothing to prove when Spurs visit Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The former Real striker secured a transfer to White Hart Lane prior to the current campaign after falling down the pecking order at the Bernabeu.
Despite being given a chance to prove his Spanish doubters wrong in Tuesday’s quarter-final first leg, van der Vaart said he holds no ill-feeling towards his former club.
“I had a great time here. You can see that Madrid is a fantastic club and I’m really proud that I played here,” van der Vaart said.
“For me it is something special because eight months ago I left Madrid for London and for the first time I’m here now again and I’m really excited. It’s a big game, not just for me but for everybody.”
“I just want to play a good game and to be important for my team.”
“It’s not like I have bad feelings about Real and I want to prove something, they know what kind of player I am.”
“I’m a Tottenham player now and I want to win and to play a good game.”
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has led the English club on a surprisingly successful European campaign, so far culminating in their 1-0 aggregate win over Italian giants AC Milan in the round-of-16.
Van der Vaart admitted he did not expect Tottenham to make it so far in the Champions League, and believes being free of the pressure to win – a burden carried by the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter Milan – can only help the club.
“We have done fantastic, I’m really surprised but we are in the quarter-final and against the biggest team in the world so we have nothing to lose,” the Netherlands international said.
“The last few games we didn’t play well, but when you play against Madrid it is something special.”
“I think we need a goal (at the Bernabeu) to have a good chance to go through to the next round.”
“We want to score, we want to attack and my feeling says that we have a good chance.”
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