He began his senior career at Dutch club Ajax in 2006 and totalled 220 games and 28 goals for them across all competitions, serving as their captain since 2011. He won two Eredivisie and two KNVB Cup titles during his time at the club, and in 2012 he was named Dutch Footballer of the Year. Vertonghen transferred to Tottenham in July 2012, and made the PFA Team of the Year in his first Premier League season, going on to make over 200 appearances for Spurs.
Vertonghen made his international debut for Belgium in 2007 and his 96 caps (among which three unofficial games, according to FIFA rules) are tied with Jan Ceulemans for the most in the history of the national team. He was part of Belgian squads that came fourth at the 2008 Olympics and reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016.