Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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Jan Vertonghen talks about “his tears” and wants to STAY at Benfica after moving to Anderlecht

Jan Vertonghen has admitted he didn’t want to leave Benfica this summer despite securing a free transfer to Anderlecht just before the deadline.

The former Tottenham Hotspur star played two seasons for the Portuguese side before his contract ended and he returned to his homeland to join the Belgian high-flyers.

Vertonghen admitted he wasn’t expected to play a major role in Benfica’s first-team as he enters the final stages of his career at 35 but that the move came as a shock and was revealed to him and completed in a day.

“Within 24 hours I moved from Benfica to Anderlecht,” he told TM Nieuws of A Bola.

“Things that last for other months have come for me in 24 hours. Contracts, medical checks, the transfer… I never thought of leaving Benfica. Never.

“I assumed I was going to play, whether it was European games or the cup or because of injuries or suspensions. But when you’re the only player who never leaves the bench, you start thinking… Still, I wanted to stay at Benfica.”

The Belgium international admitted that he and his family had fully settled in the Portuguese capital and that he turned down Anderlecht’s initial approach in hopes of potentially ending his career with the club.

Vertonghen then admitted breaking the news to his family was the hardest aspect of the move, as one of his children cried after learning of his departure from Lisbon.

“On the morning of August 31, my manager called me about Anderlecht’s offer and I turned it down. I was on my way to Benfica training and was supposed to call him in the afternoon.

“Then I spoke to the coach and everything changed. I stood on the pitch with tears in my eyes, wanting to stay in Lisbon and seeing all my stability crumble.

“I don’t want to go into too much detail, but after that conversation I realized it wasn’t going to work. I had to tell my family and it cost me the most. People talk a lot about the money footballers make, but sometimes the money means nothing.

“My kids only traveled on September 5th and one of them cried the whole trip. He didn’t want to leave Portugal. Everything happened very quickly, but of course there were also positive things and Anderlecht welcomed me very well.”

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