Erik Lamela home debut overshadowed by kidnapping of younger brother by gun-wielding carjackers


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The Independent Football

Erik Lamela received a shock the night before his home debut for Tottenham with the news that his younger brother had been kidnapped by armed carjackers in his home city of Buenos Aires.

According to reports in Italy, 18-year-old Axel Lamela was taken at gunpoint on Friday and held to ransom.

He was held for a few hours before being released by the kidnappers late on Friday in exchange for a fee of around 5000 pesos, which equates to about £550.

While the targeting of footballers' families by criminals is not an uncommon phenomenon, police believe that in this instance it was coincidental and merely a result of the flashy car the 18-year-old was driving.

In the end the whole situation was resolved once the Lamela family paid the kidnappers, who dropped Axel back at the family's house.

Brian Lamela, another of Erik's brothers, said: "They told us to get the ransom money and make sure the police were not involved. They came to our front door to collect the money.

"They did not cover their faces and the security cameras at our house recorded them.

"My brother is calm. All of us think it was a random incident - they simply kidnapped him for the car and nothing else."

In the end despite the scary incident, Spurs' new £30m man made a brief appearance at White Hart Lane yesterday as a late substitute in the 2-0 win over Norwich.