Family of Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen held at knifepoint while player away on Champions League duty

Belgian's wife and their two young children attacked in their London home just before match against RB Leipzig in Germany was kicking off

ENFIELD, ENGLAND: Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham Hotspur trains during the Tottenham Hotspur training session at The Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on March 09, 2020 in Enfield, England. Tottenham Hotspur will face RB Leipzig in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

The family of Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen were held at knifepoint in their London home while he was playing in Champions League last Tuesday.

The player’s wife and their two young children were at their home in Hampstead when four men wearing balaclavas broke in shortly before 8pm, just as Spurs' match against RB Leipzig in Germany was kicking off.

Vertonghen was an unused substitute in Spurs' 3-0 last-16 second leg defeat that saw them exit the competition 4-0 on aggregate.

"We have been supporting Jan and his family through this terribly traumatic time," said a Spurs spokesperson.

"We encourage anyone who has any information to come forward to help the police with their investigation."

A Met Police spokesman said: "Police were called to a residential address in NW3 at 7.49pm on 10 March to a report of a burglary.

"Officers attended. It was reported four men wearing balaclavas, armed with knives, had forced entry to the property and stolen a number of items before leaving.

"Nobody was injured. The suspects had left the scene before officers arrived. There have been no arrests and inquiries continue."

Vertonghen became the latest footballer to be targeted by criminals.

In December, Crystal Palace defender, Mamadou Sakho, 29, was away with his family, ahead of his team's match with Southampton when raiders broke into his house in south- west London. They are understood to have lost valuables worth in excess of £500,000 (Dh 2.25 million) in the raid.

Last summer, also in Hampstead, Arsenal players Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac were attacked by carjackers who attempted to steal luxury watches from the pair. CCTV footage showed Kolasinac chasing off two masked attackers in July, one of whom was given a 10-year prison sentence.

Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane's house was burgled during Liverpool's Champions League clash match Bayern Munich at Anfield last February.

Mane was the latest in a long line of Liverpool players who have been targeted by thieves over the years, including Dejan Lovren, Roberto Firmino, Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Pepe Reina, Robbie Keane, Jermaine Pennant, Lucas Leiva, Daniel Agger, Jerzy Dudek and Peter Crouch, twice