Thomas Vermaelen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈtoːmɑs fərˈmaːlə(n)]; born 14 November 1985) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Spanish club Barcelona and the Belgium national team.
|Full name||Thomas Vermaelen|
|Date of birth||14 November 1985|
|Place of birth||Antwerp, Belgium|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|2004–2005||→ RKC Waalwijk (loan)||13||(2)|
|2016–2017||→ Roma (loan)||9||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10:35, 4 May 2019 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 01:32, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
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 Cruyff 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.
Vermaelen made his international debut for Belgium in 2006, he took part at the 2008 Olympics where Belgium came fourth, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where Belgium came third.
Vermaelen started his youth career in his home country with Germinal Ekeren, which later became Germinal Beerschot after a merger.
His breakthrough came when he returned to Ajax and won the KNVB Cup. Performances that season resulted in a call-up to the Belgium national football team. Ajax won the Johan Cruyff Shield and another KNVB Cup the following season and in 2007, they won the Johan Cruyff Shield for the second consecutive time. He forged a partnership with fellow academy graduate John Heitinga and later Jan Vertonghen when Heitinga left for Atlético Madrid in Spain. Following the departure of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in mid-season, Vermaelen served as captain of Ajax for the remainder of the 2008–09 season, where he mostly played as a left-back.
Vermaelen joined Arsenal from Ajax for an initial fee of €10 million (rising to €12 million) on 19 June 2009, signing a four-year contract. After Kolo Touré surrendered the number 5 jersey to him upon joining Manchester City, Vermaelen, with William Gallas, formed Arsenal's central defence pairing. Vermaelen made his Premier League debut on 15 August 2009 in a 1–6 away win against Everton, and scored in the 37th minute. He became the 84th Arsenal player to score in their debut. He then scored a brace against Wigan Athletic in a 4–0 victory.
Arsenal fans voted him as their Player of the Month twice in a row on Arsenal.com, and affectionately nicknamed him the "Verminator". However, he scored an own goal in a home match against Chelsea when a cross came in from Ashley Cole. The match finished 0–3 to Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.
Vermaelen became notable for being a goal-scoring defender due to his spectacular 25-yard, left-footed goal against Blackburn Rovers and many headed goals during the first half of Arsenal's 2009–10 season. In recognition of his contributions, he was nominated for the Belgian Sportsman of the year award and was also included in the PFA Team of the Season. Vermaelen finished the season with 45 games and eight goals in all competitions under his belt.
In the pre-season of the 2010–11 season, Vermaelen captained Arsenal in an Emirates Cup match against Milan with regular captain Cesc Fàbregas and vice-captains Manuel Almunia and Robin van Persie not in the squad. Vermaelen started all of the first three Arsenal matches of the season before suffering an Achilles tendon injury on international duty with Belgium.
He had a new injury setback when manager Arsène Wenger reported that the Achilles tendon problem would keep him out of action until 2011. On 17 March 2011, Wenger confirmed that Vermaelen would miss the remainder of the season with a new injury setback, but on 26 April, Vermaelen played 90 minutes in his first competitive game after eight months in a reserves game against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 28 April. On 8 May, he was included in Arsenal's 18-man squad travelling to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. However, Vermaelen was an unused substitute, but on 15 May, he finally returned in Arsenal's 2–1 defeat to Aston Villa and played the full 90 minutes.
Following Cesc Fàbregas' transfer to Barcelona in August 2011, Vermaelen was named vice-captain of Arsenal, with Robin van Persie named captain. On 6 September 2011, Vermaelen had treatment on his Achilles tendon which ruled him out for six weeks. On 18 October 2011, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the club for an additional four years. He made his long-awaited return against Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round of the League Cup, where he captained the side to a 2–1 victory at the Emirates Stadium. He suffered a suspected calf injury in the 84th minute, but to Arsenal's relief, he stated in the post-match interview it was just a cramp. On 1 November, Vermaelen started his first UEFA Champions League game in three months against Marseille and played a key role in helping keep a clean sheet for the Gunners in which the game ended 0–0.
Vermaelen scored Arsenal's second goal in their 3–0 win over West Bromwich Albion on 5 November. He also featured in the 1–1 draw with Fulham on 26 November, when he scored a 65th minute own-goal but salvaged a point with an 82nd-minute equaliser for Arsenal. On 3 December, Vermaelen scored the second goal against Wigan to win the match 4–0. On 12 March 2012, Vermaelen scored the winner in the 95th minute against Newcastle United. He had run the entire length of the pitch to score a half-volley from Theo Walcott's cross. In the following game, he converted a Robin van Persie corner, heading home Arsenal's only goal in a 0–1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park. On 16 April 2012, he headed home a Tomáš Rosický cross against Wigan to reduce the deficit to 1–2, with Wigan having taken a two-goal lead at the Emirates. However, the scoreline finished the same. Manager Arsène Wenger has called him a defensive rock and his partnership with Laurent Koscielny is strong, enabling Arsenal to build from the back.
On 11 December 2012, Vermaelen missed the deciding penalty kick in Arsenal's shoot-out defeat against League Two side Bradford City in the League Cup, his shot striking the post. Vermaelen had scored Arsenal's equalising goal within normal time of the same match. However, consistently poor performances followed for Vermaelen, most notably against Manchester City and Liverpool.
Vermaelen's performances forced Arsène Wenger to drop him for the pivotal Champions League game against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Arsenal won 0–2, although it was not enough to progress to the next round through aggregate, but they were the first team to prevent Bayern from scoring that season, thanks to an assured performance from the defence and reserve goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny continued to partner each other at centre-back for the following games, until the former's red card against West Brom at The Hawthorns on 6 April 2013 gave Vermaelen a chance to reestablish himself in the team. Arsenal held on for a 1–2 win. Due to Mertesacker's suspension, Vermaelen partnered Koscielny for the game against Norwich City on 13 April, with Arsenal winning 3–1.
On 9 August 2014, Arsenal accepted a £15 million offer from Barcelona for Vermaelen. The next day, he completed his move after signing a five-year contract. Vermaelen was plagued with injuries since his transfer; he was thought to be ready for Barcelona's game against APOEL in the Champions League, but was taken out of the squad. He underwent surgery on 2 December 2014 for a recurring hamstring injury, and was expected back in four-to-six months. After being an unused substitute in a 2–0 win over Real Sociedad two weeks earlier, Vermaelen started on his debut for Barcelona on 23 May 2015 in the final La Liga match of the season against Deportivo de La Coruña in which he played for 63 minutes before being substituted for Douglas in a 2–2 draw at the Camp Nou.
In the second game of his second season on 29 August 2015, Vermaelen scored his first goal for Barcelona, finishing from a cross to win a home match against Málaga. He was praised by manager Luis Enrique afterwards. Vermaelen was an 81st-minute substitute for Javier Mascherano on 20 December as Barcelona won the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup Final against River Plate in Japan.
Loan to RomaEdit
On 8 August 2016, Roma loaned Vermaelen from Barcelona on a one-year deal with an option to purchase. On 18 August 2016, Vermaelen made his debut for the Rome club in a UEFA Champions League qualification play-off against FC Porto and was sent off for two yellow card offences after only 41 minutes.
During his time at the club, Vermaelen played only 607 minutes due to injury and returned to Barcelona at the end of the season.
Return to BarcelonaEdit
On 26 November 2017, Vermaelen was selected to start in Barcelona's 1–1 draw with Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium, covering for the suspended Gerard Piqué. He retained his place in central defence for seven of the next eight fixtures, before picking up an injury, including Barça's 3–0 win at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium against rivals Real Madrid.
A former youth international, Vermaelen had participated in the U-19 Championships and the 2007 U-21 European Championships. He made his senior debut for Belgium at age 20 against Luxembourg in March 2006. On 8 October 2009, he was named Belgium captain prior to the games against Turkey and Estonia in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, but could not prevent the Belgians from finishing fourth in their group. He was recalled to squad for 14 November friendly against Hungary and scored his first goal for his country by tapping in an Eden Hazard cross.
On 13 May 2014, Vermaelen was named in Belgium's squad for the 2014 World Cup. After spending Belgium's first match of the tournament, a 2–1 win against Algeria, on the substitutes' bench, Vermaelen was chosen to start in the second match against Russia, replacing former Ajax teammate Jan Vertonghen at left-back. However, after 31 minutes, Vermaelen was taken off with an injury and replaced by Vertonghen.
|Roma (loan)||2016–17||Serie A||9||0||0||0||—||3||0||—||12||0|
- As of 7 September 2018
- As of match played 3 September 2017. Belgium score listed first, score column indicates score after each Vermaelen goal.
|1.||14 November 2009||Jules Ottenstadion, Ghent, Belgium||Hungary||Friendly|
- La Liga: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19
- Copa del Rey: 2015–16, 2017–18
- UEFA Super Cup: 2015
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2015
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- "Arsenal 0–3 Chelsea". BBC News. 29 November 2009.
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- "65 nominés pour les 4 plus prestigieux prix du sport" (in French). lalibre.be. 9 November 2009.
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- "Brazil v Russia". BBC. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Twitter – Mr and Mrs Vermaelen
- "Thomas Vermaelen". Soccerbase. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- Thomas Vermaelen at Soccerway. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
- Includes cup competitions such as the KNVB Cup, FA Cup and Copa del Rey
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- "BBC Sport – Football – Rooney is PFA player of the year". bbc.co.uk.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thomas Vermaelen.|
- Thomas Vermaelen on Twitter
- FC Barcelona official profile
- Thomas Vermaelen at BDFutbol
- Arsenal official profile
- Belgium Stats at Belgian FA
- Thomas Vermaelen at Soccerbase
- Thomas Vermaelen at Soccerway
- Thomas Vermaelen at National-Football-Teams.com
- Thomas Vermaelen – FIFA competition record
- Thomas Vermaelen – UEFA competition record
- Thomas Vermaelen photos