When Esbjerg fB’s amateur serie 4 side strap on their boots at Veldtofte Idrætsparkk tonight, a Dutch legend will most likely become the most renowned ever player to contest an eighth-tier match in Denmark.
He’s played in a World Cup final and faced opposition such as Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United, but tonight Rafael van der Vaart will help Esbjerg take on FC King George – a side named after a bodega in Esbjerg (and perhaps also one of the worst whiskeys you can buy in Denmark).
“On Sunday 13 October a testimonial match has been arranged for me at Volkspark Stadium in Hamburg and I’d like to be able to run just a little bit at that time. I look forward to it and hopefully I have enough stamina for a few minutes,” the Dutchman told jv.dk.
Another twist in the tale
Van der Vaart, 36, officially retired in late 2018 following a surprising two-year stint in Denmark due to his girlfriend, the handball player Estavana Polman, playing in Esbjerg. The Dutchman played two unsuccessful seasons with FC Midtjylland and Esbjerg before hanging up his boots.
After turning out in Denmark’s eighth tier tonight, Van der Vaart will play with some slightly better players in October as Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder are all slated to take part in the testimonial.
But tonight, it’s all about beating the mighty FC King George on a wind-swept pitch in west Jutland.