At the end of the longest season, Tottenham Hotspur have to say one of the hardest goodbyes as Jan Vertonghen's eight-year spell in north London comes to a tearful end.
The Belgian centre-back was an instrumental part of a hugely impressive Tottenham backline under Mauricio Pochettino. This parsimonious defence formed the foundation of Spurs' trio of top-three finishes between 2015 and 2018 along with their run to the Champions League final the following year.
So my time at the club comes to an end. A sad day for many reasons. I will miss the friends I’ve made here, the staff that make the club run, playing at the amazing new stadium & of course you fans. pic.twitter.com/qyEOlNmgFx— Jan Vertonghen (@JanVertonghen) July 27, 2020
During each of the reigns of four, wildly contrasting managers (ranging from Tim Sherwood to José Mourinho) Vertonghen has turned out elite displays on the pitch and been an influential voice in the dressing room.
There have (understandably) been peaks and troughs across the near decade spent at Spurs, but for the Tottenham faithful Jan will always be the man.
7. End Stamford Bridge Struggles
Vertonghen's time at Tottenham has been littered with the passing of notable milestones - whether it be their European run or consistency in the Premier League. In April 2018, the burly Belgian helped steer Tottenham to another 'first' as they recorded a league victory away to Chelsea for the first time in 28 years.
Spurs' then-manager Pochettino heralded Vertonghen's performance that campaign, declaring that his number five was 'one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League and in Europe'.
As Spurs eventually finished third in the table (two places above Chelsea) with the third-best defensive record, Vertonghen was deservedly voted as the club's Player of the Season.
6. Old Trafford Triumph
In just his second month as a Tottenham player, Vertonghen netted what he thought was his first goal for the club inside two minutes at Old Trafford in September 2012.
It would go down as an own goal but Vertonghen's neat one-two with Gareth Bale set Spurs on their way to a historic 3-2 away to Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United.
Vertonghen - starting the match at left-back - was not alone in excelling for Spurs that day as André Villas-Boas' side produced a hugely impressive display, perhaps the most complete of the Portuguese's reign.
5. Unorthodox But Effective Defending
Jan Vertonghen pulling down Nicklas Helenius' shorts during Aston Villa & Tottenham's League Cup tie still shocks us with how he got away with it ?? pic.twitter.com/MiIv5VWFWU— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 12, 2020
On the rare occasions when Vertonghen misreads the play developing in front of him, his unrivalled physicality normally bails him - and Spurs - out of trouble.
However, when Nicklas Helenius burst through for Aston Villa in the third round of the 2013 League Cup, Vertonghen - perhaps inadvertently - took another approach, pulling down the striker's shorts as he tumbled to the ground.
Helenius fluffed the chance to make it 1-1 while a bashful Vertonghen sheepishly looked on. As the referee deemed no offence to have occurred, Spurs proceeded to rattle in three more unanswered goals.
4. Game Saving North London Derby Tackle
In what would prove to be his last 'home' north London derby, Vertonghen proved decisive in ensuring Tottenham earned a valuable point.
As the clock ticked into the 91st minute, with the score at 1-1, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty was saved by Lloris only for the ball to instantly be fired back into the striker's feet, with the goal at his mercy.
Somehow, Vertonghen's windmill of flailing limps diverted the effort over the bar on the cusp of the final whistle.
3. Last Minute Wolves Winner
At the time, Vertonghen's 91st-minute winner away to Wolverhampton Wanderers this season seemed like an important goal in Spurs' quest for Champions League qualification.
With the added benefit of hindsight, this 2-1 victory has proven to be even more pivotal as Spurs snuck above their Midlands opponents into sixth place on the final day thanks to goal difference alone.
Vertonghen may have left Spurs after his lowest league finish, but that brilliant header was seismic for the club's continued participation in Europe.
2. Miracle in Amsterdam
After staggering off with an injury in the first half of the first leg of the 2019 Champions League semi-final, Vertonghen returned to the starting XI for the return fixture in Amsterdam.
As Spurs recorded a stunning turnaround, Vertonghen put his body in the line of fire, battling through the 90 minutes equipped with a protective face covering, he was then spotted leaving the stadium on crutches.
On one of the most incredible nights in the club's history, the victory was made all the sweeter for Vertonghen as it came against the club which had nurtured him into the wonderful player Spurs would come to cherish.
1. Borussia Dortmund Masterclass
From an unfamiliar role as the side's left-wing-back, Vertonghen produced his greatest display in a Tottenham shirt against Borussia Dortmund in February 2019.
The 6'2 centre-half was remarkably adept at marauding up and down Spurs' left flank throughout the first leg of the round of 16 and delivered a wonderful, arcing cross to tee up Son Heung-min for the opener.
As the game entered its final ten minutes, Vertonghen stormed into Dortmund's penalty area, coolly converting on the volley before pretending to rip open his shirt in comic book fashion.
Spurs ran out 3-0 winners but that night belonged to Super Jan.
Source : 90min