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Premier League

Van der Vaart says Arsenal move would have been 'fantastic'

Tottenham Hotspur ace Rafael van der Vaart has suggested that he could have stayed at Real Madrid rather than leaving for first-team football in England.

When Dutch compatriots Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder left for Bayern Munich and Internazionale respectively, Los Merengues offered him the option to stay, but he turned them down.

"I would have moved to Bayern Munich, but they weren't interested," he told the News of the World. "Arsenal? Yes of course, that would have been fantastic.

"When Madrid sold Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder they asked me whether I would like to stay - I would even get my No. 23 shirt back.

"What I went through is part of football, but it wasn't nice. Football is best when you're ten years old."