Serge Aurier has revealed that he played for Tottenham three days after his brother was murdered to help his grieving mother.
Aurier’s brother Christopher was shot dead outside a nightclub in France in July 2020, hours after the Ivory Coast international played for Spurs in a north London derby win over Arsenal.
Less than 72 hours later, he played in a match at Newcastle and helped his side to a 3-1 win.
Aurier, who returns to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time with Nottingham Forest on Saturday, said it was a decision he made to give his mother hope in the darkest situation.
“I played for my mum. She needed to know life doesn’t stop,” he said.
“We lost my brother, who we loved so much.
“But I wanted to play this game because this is my work, first of all. Afterwards, we have our life as a family.
“This was a bad moment for me but I am strong. I just wanted to show my mum, ‘Yeah, we lost my brother but you have another kid in this life’.
“I wanted to show that, ‘This is a bad moment, but don’t worry because I’m here and I am going to work hard again for you and for the family’.
“It wasn’t a good moment for me or for my family but when my mom saw me on the pitch, running and fighting, of course it can’t change anything, but she felt, ‘Yeah, I lost my kid but I have another one I can see on TV, he’ll run and enjoy it’.
“After this game, I went home and I felt like she would be happy to see me play like that.”
Aurier left Spurs in 2021 after cancelling the final year of his contract, ending a four-year stay in London.
He was part of the squad that got to the Champions League final under Mauricio Pochettino and the Carabao Cup final under Jose Mourinho, who was sacked six days before the game, but ultimately was not able to help Spurs end their trophy drought.
That period without silverware is guaranteed to enter a 16th year after a horror week saw them lose to Sheffield United in the FA Cup and then go out of the Champions League after a 1-0 aggregate defeat to AC Milan.
Aurier said it has never been because of a lack of effort and wants to see his former club be successful.
“The club are under pressure, they didn’t win a trophy in a long time,” he said. “For everyone, it is difficult to know. We had a lot of good players and we didn’t get a trophy.
“We went to the Champions League final and the Carabao Cup final and we didn’t win, so sometimes it is a big frustration for the fans.
“I understand but don’t put everything in the same boat. We don’t go on the pitch just to laugh, we have to try our best.
“I feel the frustration of the fans there and I understand. When you spend a lot of money on the players you want to get the result back. I understand and I hope they win something.
“The players there deserve to win something, they are hard working. I stayed there for four years. They work hard. The fans and the players deserve to win something.
“They tried to do their best all the time. Don’t give up. There will be time to win something. But they just need to believe and don’t get down and give up.”