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Van der Vaart to stay at Real: player

sports Updated: Sep 01, 2009 17:25 IST

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Real Madrid have decided to keep midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, the player himself has announced, despite reports he was set to join the Dutch exodus at the club.

Real Madrid "assured me that they believe in my qualities, and they want me to stay in the club," van der Vaart said on his official website late on Monday, the last day of the official summer transfer window.

The 26-year-old has reportedly been among a number of players on the transfer list as new club president Florentino Perez sought to recoup some of the more than 250 million euros he has splashed out on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso.

Three Dutch players -- Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar -- have already left Real in the close season.

Spanish news reports said last week that van der Vaart rejected a lucrative offer from Turkish champions Besiktas and was insisting that, if he had to move, it should be to the English Premiership.

The reports said Real also had a plan to offer him to Bayern Munich as part of a deal in which the German club's French midfielder Franck Ribery would move the other way.

The sports newspaper Marca said on Tuesday that Real's failure to sign Ribery had worked in van der Vaart's favour.

"Real Madrid told me it was never a question about my qualifications as a player, but only a matter of the many new players," the Dutchman said on his website.

"They like my attitude towards wanting to play, and told me very clearly in a meeting on Monday 31th of August, that they need me, and they see me as a important part of the team."

He said he will be keeping the number 23 jersey previously worn by David Beckham.

He added that his wife, Sylvie, a well-known model and television personality, is particularly relieved that the family is staying in the Spanish capital, where she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Real signed van der Vaart from Bundesliga side Hamburg last year in a deal reportedly worth 13 million euros.

He is now one of three Dutch survivors of the summer overhaul at Real, the others being midfielder Royston Drenthe and striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.