Jan Vertonghen suffered a nasty head injury in Tottenham’s Champions League semi-final first leg defeat to Ajax.
The Belgian defender clashed with teammate Toby Alderweireld when attacking the ball, leaving both men injured on the ground. While Alderweireld recovered quickly, Vertonghen needed extensive treatment with blood pouring from a cut on his nose.
He left the pitch to replace his stained kit and returned after a long delay as the referee, Mateu Lahoz, checked with the Spurs medical team whether the defender was fit to carry on.
Read more: Ajax goal: Was Donny Van de Beek or David Neres offside against Tottenham?
Vertonghen briefly re-entered the field of play, before appearing to gag or vomit and becoming unable to continue the match. He was helped off by his manager Mauruicio Pochettino and Tottenham staff and substituted, appearing very unsteady on his feet.
The injury to Vertonghen deepens the issues Spurs face in the tail end of the season.
Speaking after the match, Pochettino told BT Sport of Vertonghen’s condition: “I don’t know, I didn’t see him. Of course we are going to assess in the next few days and we will see.”
By Sam Cunningham, i football correspondent
That Vertonghen was not forced off straight away only highlights further the uncomfortable relationship football still has with head injuries and concussion.
How Vertonghen was allowed back on the field, even though he looked as though he did not know what day it was, only the Spurs doctor who made the final call can say. Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz made clear that they must check for concussion. On he went…
… Off he came a minute later when he had vomited, could barely stand and had to be helped down the tunnel.
The club was previously criticised in 2013 for allowing Hugo Lloris to play on against Everton after he suffered a concussion and was rendered unconscious.
At the time a spokesperson from Headway, a charity which assists those with brain injury, condemned the club’s actions as “irresponsible”.
Ajax won the first leg at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium 0-1, carrying the significant advantage of an away goal into the second leg.