Rafael van der Vaart admits he's 'ready for new challenge' amid reported Celtic interest

Hamburg playmaker Rafael van der Vaart has admitted that he is ready for a new challenge.

Hamburg midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has told Fox Sports that he will seek a new challenge when he leaves the club at the end of the season.

The Dutch playmaker, 32, has played for some of the top clubs in recent years, having featured regularly for the likes of Ajax, Hamburg, Real Madrid and Tottenham.

Van der Vaart returned to Hamburg for a second spell in 2012 after the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham, but is now set to leave the club again.

Hamburg currently sit third bottom of the Bundesliga table and are in real danger of being relegated to the second tier this season - and even if they stay up, van der Vaart is on his way out.

His contract at the Imtech Arena expires this summer, and van der Vaart has already confirmed that he will leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season, as confirmed to Goal by Hamburg CEO Dietmar Beiersdorfer.

It will now be interesting to see where van der Vaart ends up, with The Scotsman reporting over the weekend that Celtic hold an interest in signing van der Vaart on a free transfer.

Now, in an interview with Fox Sports, van der Vaart admitted that he is looking for a new challenge after fighting relegation - and isn't interested in returning to the Netherlands just yet.

"There is a time to come and go," said van der Vaart. "The last two years have been very tough with fighting against relegation. I'm ready for another challenge. I feel good and can still participate at the highest level. I'm still a football player."

''Ideally I want to go to a top league. If that does not come, I'm looking at other things. I want to play a few years abroad," he added.

With Celtic perennially challenging for the Scottish Premiership title, the Bhoys would certianly offer van der Vaart a different challenge - but with Kris Commons, Stefan Johansen and Stuart Armstrong all in the mix for the attacking midfield role under Ronny Deila, there may not be much room at the inn for van der Vaart in Scotland.

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