Van der Vaart honoured by Chelsea links

Real Madrid midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart says he is honoured to be linked with an end-of-season switch to Chelsea.

The Dutch international has suffered since the sacking of former coach Bernd Schuster in December, seeing his first-team opportunities become limited under, ex-Sevilla and Spurs boss, Juande Ramos at the Bernabeu.

And the 26-year-old, who only arrived at the Spanish capital from Hamburg for €13 million last summer, admits he is flattered by rumours that he is to set to quit the club for Stamford Bridge at the end of the campaign, hailing fellow countryman - and current Blues coach - Guus Hiddink as one of the top managers in world football.

“There are always rumours, especially when you don’t play, but for sure I’m honoured,” the former Ajax talent told De Telegraaf.

“Hiddink is one of the best managers in the world and being part of his plans is not something easy.

“I think that it’s obvious that I have been the principal victim of Schuster’s departure and Juande Ramos’ arrival.

“Apparently the gaffer doesn’t rely on me.”

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