Sandro, a former Tottenham midfielder, has described how he stopped a brawl between two teammates during halftime.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Rafael van der Vaart are the two players in concern. It’s not unexpected that Van der Vaart and Assou-Ekotto got into a brawl because both players were well-known for having strong personalities on the Spurs squad at the time.
The altercation started when the Dutchman took advantage of a good free-kick opportunity without asking Assou-Ekotto, who was their designated free-kick taker at the time, for permission.
The Frenchman who attacked Van der Vaart in the locker room took offense to this.
Sandro described the incident to Ladbrokes Fanzone (via Daily Star) as follows:
Assou found this to be quite hurtful.
He was quite unhappy since he believed that was his ball and that he should have shot. As a bunch of guys playing with him, we usually just let Assou do whatever he wanted… let him do it, you know?”
He was furious at the time. When we enter the locker room during halftime, Rafael is being punched by him! He was really strong when I went to grab hold of him, so I grabbed hold of him and dragged him back since he was trying to hit Rafa.
“Why did you take the shot, he asks? How come you done this? My friend, that ball is mine. You reject taking it! I’ll murder you the next time! He was furious.
The following day, when we arrive for training, Van der Vaart approaches me and says, “Sandro, you saved my life… I appreciate it very much.
In a prior telling of the tale, Jermaine Jenas said that the two of them engaged in physical contact while entirely naked.
“We get in (after the game), and everyone is changing when I hear a commotion coming from the showers. Rafa and Benoit are engaged in combat! It was halted almost soon, but it only goes to show that these things go place frequently, just not on the field.
Assou-Ekotto has also previously discussed the issue, saying that the altercation brought them closer in the end.