Vertonghen breaks Belgium appearance record with 97th cap

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With his start against Cyprus on Tuesday, the Tottenham defender has become the most capped player in his country’s history

Jan Vertonghen has made Belgian football history as the defender has earned his 97th cap on Tuesday, moving him into the country’s top spot of all-time.

Tottenham centre-back Vertonghen equalled Jan Ceulemans's record with 96 appearances as he started Belgium’s wild 4-3 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday.

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Despite the Red Devils having already qualified for the 2018 World Cup, manager Roberto Martinez has decided to call upon the Spurs man again to begin the home contest against Cyprus, which now sees Vertonghen make the appearance record his own.

Vertonghen has personally downplayed the record, even refusing the captain armband’s offered to him by Eden Hazard before the Bosnia game, in honor of his record-tieing night.

"Yes, it's true. He came to me to tell me to take the captain's armband," Vertonghen said. "I thought that was really nice of him, but I refused. I'm not a guy who wants to push himself into the spotlight or stand out from the crowd.

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"I heard it said that I wanted to play with the No. 97 shirt against Cyprus to mark the occasion, but that's not true. I'm a normal guy who wants to play games, whether it be the first, the 95th or the 97th of my international career.”

He later added on the Cyprus qualifier: "I know I'll be put in the spotlight, but I don't know how. I'll try to enjoy that in front of my family."

The 30-year-old Vertonghen is now just three appearances away from the century mark and may get the chance to reach that milestone when Belgium head to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

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