Former Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has revealed that a sickening collision with former team-mate Toby Alderweireld left him suffering concussion symptoms for months.
During a Champions League semi-final with Ajax in the 2018-19 season, Vertonghen and his fellow Belgian Alderweireld clashed heads and the former was forced from the field of play after 39 minutes.
He featured in the second leg and also the final, which Spurs lost 2-0 to Liverpool, but Vertonghen has suggested he was in a bad way for a long period after the initial problem on April 30.
- Mourinho plays down Spurs expectations, questions Liverpool's injury crisis
- Ronaldo prefers watching UFC and boxing to football
- Messi to PSG moving closer, Klopp's final push for Wijnaldum - Transfer Notebook
He had concussion symptoms for months, and was left fearing every coming together in training or a match.
"Lots of people don't know it but I suffered a lot from that hit: dizziness and headaches," he told Belgium’s Sporza TV on Tuesday. "This is now the first time I have talked about it. It affected me in total for nine months and that's why I couldn't bring on the field what I wanted to.
'Give me a list!' – Mourinho mocks Liverpool’s injury 'problem'
"I just didn't know what to do. It was game after game and training after training. Every time there was a new impact. Then the lockdown came and I was able to rest for two months, after that it was a lot better."
Vertonghen, who left Tottenham for Benfica in the summer, admits he felt compelled to keep on playing for the sake of his career, even though he knew it was affecting his performance.
"I had only one year of contract left, so I had to play,” the 33-year-old said. "But when I played, I played badly. Not a lot of people knew about it, that was my own choice."
Vertonghen’s admission comes on the same day lawyers for a number of former rugby players sent a letter of claim to World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union in a class-action suit that alleges a failure to protect them adequately has led to early onset of dementia.
With additional reporting from Reuters.