New Tottenham Hotspur signing Erik Lamela suffered a terrifying ordeal on the eve of his White Hart Lane debut after his brother was kidnapped by armed carjackers and held for ransom.
Lamela, 21, who joined Spurs from Roma for a club record £30 million, came off the bench late on as Andre Villas-Boas’ men secured a 2-0 win over Norwich on Saturday.
However, the Argentina international’s preparations for the big occasion were hit on Friday night with the news his 18-year-old brother Axel was taken at gunpoint in their nation’s capital.
The criminals kidnapped Axel from his BMW in the Vicente Lopez area of Buenos Aires, according to reports in Italy. Axel was held prisoner for several hours but released once a ransom of 5,000 pesos (£550) was paid.
It is believed the kidnapping was not due to Axel’s high profile footballer brother but simply because of the expensive car he was driving.
The younger Lamela’s mobile phone was used to call his family and demand the ransom; he was released on Friday evening once payment was received.
Erik and Axel’s older brother, Brian Lamela, 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.”