Ajax have reached agreement with Hamburger SV about the terms of the transfer of Rafael van der Vaart per 1 July 2005. The Heemskerk-born midfielder came to Ajax from the Kennemers at age 10. Van der Vaart's contract with Ajax ran through June 2006.
Van der Vaart was discovererd during the Ajax Talent Days. He made his debut for the first team under interim coach Hans Westerhof in the league match against FC Den Bosch (1-1) on 19 April 2000. Van der Vaart played 156 official macthes for Ajax, scoring 63 goals. Four of those goals came in 17 matches in the UEFA Champions League.
Van der Vaart has won many awards as an Ajax player, such as European Talent of the Year and VVCS Talent of the Year in 2002. With Ajax, Van der Vaart captured the national title in 2002 and 2004. He also won the Amstel Cup and the Johan Cruijff Shield in 2002. Van der Vaart was also Ajax's top scorer in 2002 with 14 league goals.
Van der Vaart has earned 28 caps for Holland and has scored four goals for the national team.