Van de Vaart returns to Hamburg

Netherlands international Rafael van der Vaart is returning to

Hamburger SV, one of his former clubs, from Tottenham.

Hamburg announced Friday that it had signed the 29-year-old

midfielder on a three-year contract.

Van der Vaart previously played for Hamburg from 2005-08 before

moving to Real Madrid. He struggled to establish himself at Madrid

and moved to Tottenham two years later.

Hamburg is the only club never to be relegated in the 50-year

history of the Bundesliga, but it made a poor start to the season,

losing the opener at home to Nuremberg.

Earlier Friday, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal left out van

der Vaart from the squad to play Turkey and Hungary in the

country’s opening World Cup qualifiers.