Thomas Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen (; born 14 November 1985) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Belgium national team as a central defender. Being left-footed, he usually plays as a left-sided centre back and can play at left-back as well. His key attributes include aerial ability, leadership skills, and his quickness with the ball at his feet. He is also known for his goalscoring ability as a defender. Vermaelen joined the Ajax youth academy in 2000 and won the 2003–04 Eredivisie title in his first season with the club. He had a loan spell with RKC Waalwijk before rejoining Ajax and winning the KNVB Cup and Johan Cruijff Shield. After Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s departure in 2009, he served as club captain for the remainder of the season. He joined Arsenal in 2009 and was included in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for that season. Following Robin van Persie’s transfer to Manchester United in August 2012, he was named club captain but found first team opportunities limited due to the success of Arsenal’s new first-choice defensive partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. In August 2014, he completed a £15 million transfer to Barcelona in La Liga. He made his international debut for Belgium in 2006, and has gone on to win 50 caps for his country. He represented them at the 2008 Olympics where they came fourth, and at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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