Signing for us in 1986, Massmechelen-born striker Nicolaas Pieter ‘Nico’ Claesen was the first Belgium international to represent us. He won 36 caps and scored 12 goals for the ‘Red Devils’ between 1983 and 1990, with nine of those appearances and six goals coming when he was a Spurs player.
Claesen’s (pictured, right) first game for Belgium after signing for us came against Luxembourg on October 14, 1986 – a 6-0 win in which he scored a hat-trick. He also managed three goals for Belgium against Scotland on April 1, 1987, in a 4-1 victory.
During his career, the forward was in Belgium’s squad for three major tournaments – the 1984 UEFA European Championship and the FIFA World Cup in 1986 and 1990. In Mexico in 1986, Belgium finished fourth in that summer’s World Cup with Claesen scoring three goals at the tournament.
Claesen’s competitive debut for us came against Liverpool in a 1-0 win at Anfield on October 11, 1986, while his first goal in our colours was scored in a 2-1 defeat away to Norwich City on November 8, 1986. He went on to play 63 matches for us, scoring 23 goals between 1986 and 1988.
Among the 10 club sides he represented during his career were VfB Stuttgart, Standard Liege and Royal Antwerp.
Jonathan Blondel, who currently plays for Club Brugge, made the first of his four appearances for Belgium to date while a Spurs player. The midfielder came on as an 81st minute substitute for Walter Baseggio as his country drew 1-1 with Poland in Szczecin on August 21, 2002.
Blondel appeared in four matches for us between 2002 and 2003 prior to his move to Club Brugge, having also played for Mouscron earlier in his career.
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