Van der Vaart joins Betis

2015-06-17 11:44
Rafael Van der Vaart (File)

MADRID, June 16 - Promoted Real Betis have signed Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart on a three-year contract to bolster their top-flight ambitions next season.

The Seville-based club secured a return to La Liga last month after one campaign in the second division and the 32-year-old, who joins on a free transfer from Hamburg SV, is their first acquisition of the close season.

A product of the Ajax Amsterdam youth academy, Van der Vaart has made 109 appearances for Netherlands, taking part in two World Cups and three European Championships and scoring 25 goals but he was not included in their most recent squad.

After leaving Ajax in 2005 he joined Hamburg before moving on to Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur and then returning to the German club that narrowly avoided relegation last term.

Van der Vaart told a news conference on Tuesday he was aiming to put a disappointing spell at Hamburg behind him and that he wanted his place back in the Dutch team.

"Betis is a great club and I am happy to come to the best league in the world," said the midfielder whose maternal family hail from Andalusia.

"I have had two poor years at Hamburg but I still believe I am a good player. I was talking to the coach and we want to win the league."

Betis finished 11 points adrift at the bottom of La Liga in 2013-14 before coach Pepe Mel returned in December for a second stint in charge following a troubled spell at English club West Bromwich Albion.

Read more on:    la liga  |  rafael van der vaart  |  soccer

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