Jan Vertonghen makes 150th appearance as a Red Devil
Belgian football’s defensive stronghold Jan Vertonghen now has a record-breaking 150 caps for the Red Devils to his name.
The historical achievement was celebrated in proper fashion, both on the pitch and after the game. Vertonghen scored the first of five goals against Estonia in the Euro 2024 qualifiers with a header in the fourth minute, putting the 1-0 on the board. He received a standing ovation when he was subbed in the second half. Afterwards, he was abundantly celebrated with great ceremony.
Vertonghen made his first appearance for the Belgian squad under René Vandereycken on 2 June 2007 and was consistently called for duty ever since. During that time, in which he dutifully eased the work of Thibaut Courtois and other Belgian goalkeepers with his excellent defence, the current Anderlecht defender also managed to score 10 goals for the Red Devils.
To be clear, Vertonghen is not thinking of stopping anytime soon (in fact best friend and retired legend Toby Alderweireld has said ‘They’re going to have to drag him off the pitch’), so he will surely be able to expand on his record.
The second, third and fourth places are occupied by three stellar players who, sadly, have all retired in 2022 – Axel Witsel (130), the aforementioned Toby (127) and the injury-plagued Eden Hazard (126) --, so his record won’t be broken for a long time. The closest still active player is our beloved Romelu Lukaku, trailing 40 caps behind Vertonghen.
Congratulations, Jan, and thank you for your continuing service.