Munich - Hamburger SV have sealed the signing of former midfielder Rafael van der Vaart from English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. The Dutchman, adored by the club's fans following three exceptional seasons with the Red Shorts between 2005 and 2008, has signed a three-year contract and could go straight into Thorsten Fink's matchday squad for the Northern derby against Werder Bremen.

Having endured a difficult start to the season, losing in the DFB Cup and on Matchday 1 of the Bundesliga, Hamburg supporters will be delighted with the news that one of their greatest-ever players has returned. The Dutchman shares their sentiment. "My return to Hamburg is a dream come true for me and my family," said van der Vaart. "I'm indebted to HSV and Klaus-Michael Kühne. I'm really looking forward to three great years."

Held in high regard


"I'm delighted that Rafael van der Vaart has re-signed for HSV," said head coach Thorsten Fink. "He will strengthen our squad enormously." The former Tottenham and Real Madrid midfielder flew from London on deadline day to complete the move, but for club investor, and avid Hamburg fan, Klaus-Michael Kühne the transfer has been a long time coming. "I'm incredibly proud that with our combined forces, we've managed to bring Rafael van der Vaart back to HSV," said Kühne. "I'm convinced that this is the start of a better sporting future [for the club]."

After graduating from the famed AFC Ajax youth academy and starring in their first team, van der Vaart surprised many observers by moving to Hamburg in the summer of 2005. Yet any doubt as to whether the transfer would be the perfect fit was soon dispelled, as he scored nine league goals in his first year in the Bundesliga, helping the club to a third-placed finish and UEFA Champions League qualification. He went on to become the club's captain and scored a total of 48 goals in 113 appearances in Hamburg, winning acclaim within Germany and assuming a special place in the hearts of HSV supporters.