It’s not often that the Spanish national side are on the end of stinging criticism, but that’s exactly what came their way recently when Dutch legend, Rafael van der Vaart was doing some punditry work on Dutch TV.
According to Eurosport, he said; “Spain are horrible, all they do is pass it from one side to the other.”
That should always serve as motivation to any side, and it appears to have had the desired effect after La Roja tore Slovakia to shreds in their final Euro 2020 group game.
Though the Spaniard’s appeared keen not to give van der Vaart any more air time than was necessary, captain, Sergio Busquets, did respond to a question about it on Cadena SER’s El Larguero programme, cited by AS.
Looks like my words worked as motivation for @SeFutbol ? Good game tonight, congrats on reaching the knockouts ?
— Rafael van der Vaart (@rafvdvaart) June 23, 2021
“Was I annoyed by anything? No, we know what football is about, and we are open to criticism,” he said.
“But as I said recently, I think some did cross the line with comments that lacked respect… but that’s all.
“We’re very grateful to him, we’ll be sending him a leg of ham.”
It’s clear the Dutchman has struck a nerve, but woe betide anyone who dares write the Spanish off this early in the tournament.