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Vertonghen signs for Benfica on free transfer after leaving Spurs

18:48 BST 14/08/2020
Jan Vertonghen Benfica 2020
The Belgian defender has joined the Portuguese side on a three-year deal following his release by the Premier League club this summer

Jan Vertonghen has joined Benfica on a free transfer after his contract ended at Tottenham.

The Belgium international centre back has penned a three-year deal with the Portuguese giants, with a contract that will see him through until 2023.

Vertonghen, who moves to Lisbon alongside Brazilian international Everton and ex-Freiburg forward Luca Waldschmidt and will play under returning manager Jorge Jesus in the 2020-21 campaign, will wear the No. 5 as he did when he was playing in north London.

The 33-year-old confirmed his Tottenham exit last month following eight seasons with the club. He made over 300 appearances for the Premier League side.

Vertonghen leaves the London club on good terms, with the Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho saying Vertonghen is among the best players he has ever worked with and wished the defender well. 

"He will be a great man to play in the Portuguese League. A big professional, a silent leader, an example in a work group," Mourinho told Portuguese newspaper Record. "Fortunately I've met many throughout my career, but Jan is certainly among the best.  

"As a player, everyone knows him and the Benfica coach, as well as his structure, certainly analysed everything he can bring to the team.  

"I wish him to be very happy in my country. At Spurs we'll all be behind a person who is very dear to us."

Vertonghen, who has been capped 118 times by Belgium, failed to win a major trophy with Tottenham but did play a major part as they established themselves as Champions League regulars under Mauricio Pochettino having joined from Ajax in summer 2012 for £11.25 million (€12.5m).

He played the full 90 minutes of the 2019 Champions League final as Spurs lost 2-0 to Liverpool, however hamstring injuries frustrated the latter part of his career in England and he became less of a first team fixture in the 2019-20 campaign.

Vertonghen previously said he had an idea of where his next club would be, following his exit from Tottenham.

He told talkSPORT in July: “That will be out probably sooner rather than later. I’m considering the options and making a good choice.

“Obviously the window now is longer than it was last year, so we’ve got a bit of time to assess the best option. It will all depend on the options. I’ve got something in my head and we’ll see if that will come around or not.”