While football is a team game, and you need to have some level of understanding with each and every one of your teammates in order to work well on the pitch, that doesn’t mean you have to be the best of friends.

Of course, there are exceptions, with Manchester United’s Spanish contingent always coming across as the best of friends on and off the pitch, but at Tottenham, for example, Jan Vertonghen doesn’t consider half of his teammates to be actual friends per se.


That doesn’t mean he doesn’t like them, it’s just he wouldn’t expect them to care all that much if he were to leave the club tomorrow. Except maybe Mousa Dembélé.

Speaking to Sport/Foot about friendship in sports, the Belgian defender explained he could count his number of true friends in football on one hand.

Screen Shot 2016-12-21 at 15.53.23He said: “In more than 10 years, I’ve formed three real friendships. Mousa Dembélé, for example. We’ve known each other since we were 12, our wives are from Amsterdam, he lives in London and we both have a kid.

“I get along well with at least 10 guys at Tottenham, but if I were to leave tomorrow, I’d get a text and that’s it. Just like at Ajax. It’s mostly at school that you make friends.”

It’s funny how life works sometimes.

Being such good friends from such a young age, the 29-year-olds both arrived at White Hart Lane in 2012, with Dembélé transferring from Fulham while Vertonghen moved from Ajax Amsterdam.

Maybe it was just meant to be, in the end?