Van der Vaart to remain at Real

Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart is set to stay at the Bernabeu this season, after being told he is a part of the club's plans.

The Dutch international has made 32 league appearances - netting five times - since joining the Madridistas last summer.

However, following the expensive acquisitions of Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso, Real have been open to offers for Dutch sextuplet Van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Roysten Drenthe. Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas-Jan Huntleaar.

Huntelaar has already departed for AC Milan, while Sneijder and Robben have joined Inter Milan and Bayern Munich respectively.

A move also appeared inevitable for 26-year-old Van der Vaart, after he was not handed a squad number ahead of the new season.

As a result, Hamburg, Ajax, Inter Milan, Besiktas, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Arsenal have been linked with the midfielder, who has been capped 69 times by his country.

However, he will now not be joining any of them, with Sneijder and Robben's swift exits last week sparing the midfielder the chop.

"Rafael was urgently requested to stay at Real," the player's lawyer Robert Geerlings told Voetbal International.

"The squad has been decreased to 25 players and that made them decide that Rafael doesn't have to leave anymore.

"For us, it was very surprising, and Rafael has decided to fight for his place in Madrid."