New Delhi: Former Netherlands footballer Rafael van der Vaart grabbed the headlines by making a controversial remark regarding three-time champions Spain’s Euro 2020 campaign.Also Read - From Lionel Messi-Led Argentina Winning Copa America to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Homecoming to Manchester United; Top 5 Best Moments of Football in 2021
The former Real Madrid man, currently a football critic for broadcaster NOS for Euro 2020, said that Luis Enrique’s men have been “horrible” so far and they are only capable of passing the ball from one place to another. Spain have been below average in their opening two games against Sweden and Poland so far, both ending in drab stalemates, with the 2012 Euro winners turning out to be more than wasteful in the two outings. On the other hand, the Dutch have ensured qualification by winning all their group matches. Also Read - Hit by Covid-19, La Liga's Key Games at Risk This Weekend
Van der Vaart was part of the Dutch side back in 2010, when Oranje went onto lose to La Roja, courtesy of an extra-time winner from former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta. Leading up to the goal, former Ajax and Tottenham man failed to stop Iniesta from scoring the all important goal. Van der Vaart comments created a lot of stir in the media and the Spanish players have reacted aggressively on the matter. Also Read - Ballon D'or 2021 Winner Leaked ? Pictures go Viral in Social Media; Lionel Messi Tipped to Win 7th Crown, Robert Lewandowski to Finish Runners-Up
“Van der Vaart wanted his moment of glory and he is having it,” Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke said on Spanish radio station Cadena COPE.
“I saw him in the World Cup final, and here at our training base, we have a picture of Iniesta’s goal against the Netherlands with him next to him. You have to respect people’s opinions but we’ll remember these words. We’re not going to hang them up in the dressing room but we’ll keep them in our memories in case we end up playing (the Dutch).”
His scathing comments has even raised the eyebrows of PSG man, Pablo Sarabia.
“He made a big mistake with those comments,” he told Radio Marca. And especially as a former footballer. He has messed up, but the only memory I have of him is the 2010 World Cup and it didn’t go too well for him as we won the final.”
Luis Enrique and Co have a mountain to climb, as they’ll be facing a tough Slovak side, who are ahead of them in the table with three points. Only Sweden have ensured qualification from the group after their 1-0 victory over Marek Hamsik led side, with Poland also in contention for a spot.