‘Crazy’ former Tottenham star ‘repeatedly punched Van der Vaart and threatened to KILL him for taking a free-kick’


TOTTENHAM cult legend midfielder Sandro has claimed former left-back and fellow cult legend Benoit Assou-Ekotto threatened to “KILL” Rafael Van der Vaart after he wouldn’t let him take a free-kick.

Sandro was part of the Harry Redknapp Tottenham team that reached the Champions League quarter finals in 2011 and is fondly remembered by fans for his tough tackling and eccentric ways.

Sandro has lifted the lid on his time at TottenhamGetty Images – Getty

He claimed that Benoit Assou-Ekotto fought with Rafael Van Der Vaart after he did not let him take a free-kickAction Images – Reuters

In an exclusive interview with Ladbrokes Fanzone, Sandro lifted the lid on that team, which wasn’t short of a few characters.

The midfielder looked back particularly fondly at playing with left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who he claims didn’t like football.

The Brazilian midfielder said: “Benoit [Assou-Ekotto] is a crazy guy, he really is. We liked him a lot. We knew he was a particular kind of guy, but we liked him because of it. He never used to know who we were playing on a weekend… he just didn’t like football.

“There’s a really funny moment that springs to my mind when I think about Assou-Ekotto. He used to like to take free-kicks for us. But one time we were playing in a game, we got a free-kick in a good position and Rafael van der Vaart picked up the ball and decided to shoot. 

“Assou took this very personally; he was very upset because, to him, that was his ball; he was going to shoot. As a group of guys playing with him, generally whenever Assou wanted to do something, we just left him to it… let him do it, you know? 

“In this moment, he was mad. At half-time, we get into the dressing room and he’s punching Rafael! I tried to grab hold of him, he was so strong as well, so I’m grabbing holding of him and dragging him back because he’s trying to attack Rafa. 

“‘Why did you take the shot? Why did you do this? It’s my ball, my friend… you don’t take it! Next time, I kill you!’

“He was so angry. The next day, we turn up to training and Van der Vaart comes over to me and says ‘Sandro, you saved my life… thank you very much!’”


Assou-Ekotto was a cult legend on the Spurs terracesNews Group Newspapers Ltd

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It’s not the first time Assou-Ekotto’s eccentric ways have made headlines.

Peter Crouch also looked back fondly on his time with Assou Ekotto during an interview with The Mail, saying: “He [Assou-Ekotto] would tell us straight out that he had no interest in football whatsoever. He genuinely didn’t like it.

“At 1.30pm on a Saturday he’d have no idea which team you were playing. ‘But Benoit, we’ve been talking about them in training all week.’”

Crouch also recounted how Assou Ekotto would eat the same weird lunch every match day, saying: “Benoit would turn up with a Tesco’s bag containing the same four items every time: a croissant, a hot chocolate, a full-fat Coke and a packet of crisps.

“The croissant I understood. He is French-Cameroonian. The hot chocolate: same cultural backstory. He used to dip the first into the second.

“But the crisps, and the Coke — it was like two discrete lunches, one belonging to a middle-aged Parisian and the other a 12-year-old on the Seven Sisters Road. And it worked. He was always in great shape and rarely injured.

“We accepted it, along with all the other weirdness: the random cars he would turn up to training in, sometimes a Smart car, then a Lamborghini; the way he would refuse to take ice baths for recovery, on the rather basic premise that they were ‘too cold’.

“Benoit was a really weird guy but we loved him a lot.”

Assou-Ekotto for his part claimed that it wasn’t that he did not like football, but he was honest about his intentions in seeing it as just a job.

He said in an interview in The Athletic last year: “All people, everyone, when they go to a job, it’s for the money. So I don’t understand why, when I said I play for the money, people were shocked. [Saying] Oh, he’s a mercenary. Every player is like that. It’s a good, good job and I don’t say that I hate football but it’s not my passion.”

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“Did the other players agree with me? I’m sure, I’m sure, 200 per cent.”

He went on to say he is now enjoying football again, playing for his local amateur club SC Saint-Nicolas-lez-Arras in Northern France for free.

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