Thomas Vermaelen

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Thomas Vermaelen
Vermaelen (cropped) (cropped).jpg
Vermaelen with Belgium at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full nameThomas Vermaelen [1]
Date of birth (1985-11-14) 14 November 1985 (age 33) [2]
Place of birth Antwerp, Belgium [3]
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) [4]
Playing position Centre-back
Club information
Current team
Vissel Kobe
Number 4
Youth career
1991–1999 Germinal Ekeren
1999–2000 Germinal Beerschot
2000–2003 Ajax
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
2003–2009 Ajax 97 (7)
2004–2005RKC Waalwijk (loan) 13 (2)
2009–2014 Arsenal 110 (13)
2014–2019 Barcelona 34 (1)
2016–2017Roma (loan) 9 (0)
2019– Vissel Kobe 6 (0)
National team
2002–2003 Belgium U18 5 (0)
2003–2004 Belgium U19 7 (0)
2004–2007 Belgium U21 12 (1)
2006– Belgium 75 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 28 September 2019
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:03, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

Thomas Vermaelen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈtoːmɑs fərˈmaːlə(n)] ; [5] born 14 November 1985) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for J1 League club Vissel Kobe and the Belgium national team.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

The J1 League or simply J1 is the top division of the Japan Professional Football League and the top professional association football J.League in Japan. It is one of the most successful leagues in Asian club football. Currently, the J1 League is the first level of the Japanese association football league system. The second tier is represented by the J2 League. It is currently sponsored by Meiji Yasuda Life and thus officially known as the Meiji Yasuda J1 League. Until the 2014 season it was named the J.League Division 1.

Vissel Kobe Japanese association football club

Vissel Kobe is a Japanese professional football club, currently playing in the J1 League. The team is located in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture. The home stadium is Kobe Wing Stadium, in Hyōgo-ku, though some home matches are played at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium in Suma-ku.

Contents

Being left-footed, he usually plays as a left-sided centre-back and can play at left-back as well. [6] 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. [7]

AFC Ajax Dutch association football team

Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax, also known as AFC Ajax, Ajax Amsterdam, or simply Ajax, is a Dutch professional football club based in Amsterdam, that plays in the Eredivisie, the top tier in Dutch football. Historically, Ajax has been the most successful club in the Netherlands, with 34 Eredivisie titles and 19 KNVB Cups. It has continuously played in the Eredivisie, since the league's inception in 1956 and, along with Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven, it is one of the country's "big three" clubs that have dominated that competition.

The 2003–04 season of the Dutch Eredivisie began in August 2003 and ended in May 2004. The title was won by Ajax.

RKC Waalwijk Dutch association football club

RKC Waalwijk is a football club currently playing in the Dutch Eredivisie. Its name is derived from 'Rooms Katholieke Combinatie' and was established as a merger of HEC, WVB and Hercules.

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.

The men's association football tournament at the 2008 Summer Olympics was held in Beijing and four other cities in the People's Republic of China from 7 August to 23 August. Associations affiliated with FIFA were invited to enter their men's under-23 teams in regional qualifying competitions, from which 15 teams, plus the host nation, reached the final tournament. Men's teams were allowed to augment their squads with up to three players over the age of 23.

2014 FIFA World Cup 20th FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil in 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup was the 20th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial world championship for men's national football teams organised by FIFA. It took place in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014, after the country was awarded the hosting rights in 2007. It was the second time that Brazil staged the competition, the first being in 1950, and the fifth time that it was held in South America. Many fans and pundits alike also consider this edition of the World Cup to be one of the greatest ever held.

UEFA Euro 2016 2016 edition of the UEFA Euro

The 2016 UEFA European Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2016 or simply Euro 2016, was the 15th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men's football championship of Europe organised by UEFA. It was held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016. Spain were the two-time defending champions, having won the 2008 and 2012 tournaments, but were eliminated in the round of 16 by Italy. Portugal won the tournament for the first time, following a 1–0 victory after extra time over the host team, France, in the final played at the Stade de France.

Club career

Vermaelen with Ajax from 2000-2009 Thomas vermaelen.JPG
Vermaelen with Ajax from 2000–2009

Early career

Vermaelen started his youth career in his home country with Germinal Ekeren, which later became Germinal Beerschot after a merger.

Ajax

Vermaelen joined the academy of Dutch club Ajax. He made his professional debut on 15 February 2004 in a 0–2 away win over FC Volendam.

FC Volendam Dutch association football club

Football Club Volendam is a Dutch football club based in Volendam, Netherlands. Founded on 1 June 1977, as a result of a split up with RKSV. It currently plays in the Eerste Divisie, holding home games at Kras Stadion, with a 6,984-seat capacity.

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. [8] 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.

Arsenal

2009–10 season

Vermaelen (left) with Arsenal in 2010. Thomas Vermaelen, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny & Samir Nasri (4867513848).jpg
Vermaelen (left) with Arsenal in 2010.

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. [9] [10] After Kolo Touré surrendered the number 5 jersey to him upon joining Manchester City, [11] 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. [12] He became the 84th Arsenal player to score in their debut. [13] He then scored a brace against Wigan Athletic in a 4–0 victory. [14]

Arsenal fans voted him as their Player of the Month twice in a row on Arsenal.com, [15] [16] and affectionately nicknamed him the "Verminator". [6] 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. [17]

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. [18] In recognition of his contributions, he was nominated for the Belgian Sportsman of the year award [19] and was also included in the PFA Team of the Season. [20] Vermaelen finished the season with 45 games and eight goals in all competitions under his belt.

Vermaelen and teammates after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores Vermaelen after chamberlain goal.jpg
Vermaelen and teammates after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores

2010–11 season

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. [21] Vermaelen started all of the first three Arsenal matches of the season before suffering an Achilles tendon injury on international duty with Belgium. [22]

He had a new injury setback when manager Arsène Wenger reported that the Achilles tendon problem would keep him out of action until 2011. [23] On 17 March 2011, Wenger confirmed that Vermaelen would miss the remainder of the season with a new injury setback, [24] 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.

2011–12 season

Following Cesc Fàbregas' transfer to Barcelona in August 2011, Vermaelen was named vice-captain of Arsenal, with Robin van Persie named captain. [25] 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. [26] 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.

2012–13 season

In August 2012, Vermaelen was announced as Arsenal's new captain, replacing Robin van Persie upon his departure to Manchester United. [27]

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. [28] 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. [29] 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.

2013–14 season

On 17 May 2014, Vermaelen won his only trophy with Arsenal as an unused substitute in the team's 3–2 win over Hull City in the 2014 FA Cup Final.

Barcelona

Vermaelen with Barcelona in 2015 2015 UEFA Super Cup 39.jpg
Vermaelen with Barcelona in 2015

On 9 August 2014, Arsenal accepted a £15 million offer from Barcelona for Vermaelen. [30] The next day, he completed his move after signing a five-year contract. [31] [32] 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. [33] 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. [34] 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 Roma

On 8 August 2016, Roma loaned Vermaelen from Barcelona on a one-year deal with an option to purchase. [35] 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. [36]

During his time at the club, Vermaelen played only 607 minutes due to injury and returned to Barcelona at the end of the season. [37]

Return to Barcelona

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. [38]

Vissel Kobe

On 27 July 2019, Vermaelen signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with J1 League side Vissel Kobe. At the club, he rejoined former Barcelona teammates Andrés Iniesta and Sergi Samper, and former Arsenal teammate Lukas Podolski. [39]

International career

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 [40] 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. [41] After spending Belgium's first match of the tournament, a 2–1 win against Algeria, on the substitutes' bench, [42] Vermaelen was chosen to start in the second match against Russia, replacing former Ajax teammate Jan Vertonghen at left-back. [43] However, after 31 minutes, Vermaelen was taken off with an injury and replaced by Vertonghen. [43]

Personal life

In 2012, Vermaelen began dating English glamour model and TV presenter Polly Parsons. The couple have two sons, Raff and Ace. The couple married in June 2017. [44]

Career statistics

Club

As of 28 September 2019 [45] [46]
ClubSeasonLeagueCup [lower-alpha 1] League Cup [lower-alpha 2] ContinentalOtherTotal
DivisionAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
Ajax 2003–04 Eredivisie 10000010
2005–06 243415 [lower-alpha 3] 000334
2006–07 230507 [lower-alpha 4] 01 [lower-alpha 5] 0360
2007–08 180003 [lower-alpha 6] 01 [lower-alpha 5] 0210
2008–09 314208 [lower-alpha 7] 1425
Total977111231201339
Waalwijk (loan) 2004–05 Eredivisie13210142
Arsenal 2009–10 Premier League 337100011 [lower-alpha 3] 1458
2010–11 5000000050
2011–12 29620207 [lower-alpha 3] 0406
2012–13 29020117 [lower-alpha 3] 0391
2013–14 14030202 [lower-alpha 3] 0210
Total11013805127115015
Barcelona 2014–15 La Liga 1010
2015–16 101503 [lower-alpha 3] 02 [lower-alpha 8] 0201
2017–18 140501 [lower-alpha 3] 000200
2018–19 90102 [lower-alpha 3] 000120
Total3411006030531
Roma (loan) 2016–17 Serie A 90003 [lower-alpha 9] 0120
Vissel Kobe 2019 J1 League 60100070
Career total26923321515924036927
  1. Includes KNVB Cup, FA Cup, Copa del Rey and Emperor's Cup
  2. Includes Football League Cup and J.League Cup
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 All appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  4. Two appearances in UEFA Champions League and five appearances in UEFA Cup
  5. 1 2 Appearance in Johan Cruyff Shield
  6. Two appearances in UEFA Champions League and one appearance in UEFA Cup
  7. All appearances in UEFA Cup
  8. One appearance in Supercopa de España and one in FIFA Club World Cup
  9. One appearance in UEFA Champions League and two appearances in UEFA Europa League

International

As of 9 September 2019 [47]
TeamYearAppsGoals
Belgium
200660
200750
200850
2009111
201040
201120
201270
201360
201430
201520
201680
201760
201860
201941
Total752

International goals

As of match played 9 September 2019. Belgium score listed first, score column indicates score after each Vermaelen goal. [48]

Honours

Vermaelen (left) with Jan Vertonghen at Ajax Vermaelen Vertonghen.jpg
Vermaelen (left) with Jan Vertonghen at Ajax

Ajax [46]

Arsenal [46]

Barcelona [49]

Belgium

Individual

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