Former Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has said that he hopes Spurs beat Manchester City in the Champions League, because it would set up the most favourable semi-final for him.
The retired Dutch star is eager for Spurs to triumph in Wednesday’s quarter-final second leg, as it would mean they would play Ajax in the final four. The Dutch side secured their semi-final berth on Tuesday night, after beating Juventus 2-1 and 3-2 on aggregate.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live after Ajax’s win, Van der Vaart was asked if he hopes Spurs progress. He replied: “I hope so. One of my favourite teams are going to play the final [if Spurs play Ajax in the semi-finals], so let's hope they can win.”
Two of Van der Vaart’s former teams could face off for a place in the Champions League final. The Dutchman spent a remarkable 12 years with Ajax having been there since the age of ten, before spending two years at Tottenham later on in his career.
Ajax qualified for the semi-finals in style, holding Juventus to a 1-1 draw in Amsterdam before pulling off a famous 2-1 win at the Allianz Stadium. After going behind to a Cristiano Ronaldo header, goals from Donny van de Beek and Matthijs de Ligt secured a historic win in Turin.
It is the first time that the Eredivisie club have reached the Champions League semi-finals since 1997, as they also became the first side in the history of the competition to reach the final four while winning three qualifying rounds.
Meanwhile, Tottenham are aiming to reach the semi-finals for the first time in 57 years, when they reached the final four in the 1961/62 season. This is only Spurs’ third quarter-final appearance in their history, having last reached this stage in 2011.
Tottenham play Manchester City in their quarter-final second leg, as they travel to the Etihad Stadium with the upper hand. Spurs won the first leg 1-0 last Tuesday, prevailing thanks to a goal from Son Heung-min.