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Thomas Vermaelen

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Collection: 1985 Births, 2014 Fifa World Cup Players, Afc Ajax Players, Arsenal F.C. Players, Association Football Defenders, Belgian Expatriate Footballers, Belgian Expatriates in England, Belgian Expatriates in Spain, Belgian Expatriates in the Netherlands, Belgian Footballers, Belgium International Footballers, Belgium Under-21 International Footballers, Belgium Youth International Footballers, Eredivisie Players, Expatriate Footballers in England, Expatriate Footballers in Spain, Expatriate Footballers in the Netherlands, Fc Barcelona Players, Flemish People, Flemish Sportspeople, Footballers at the 2008 Summer Olympics, La Liga Players, Living People, Olympic Footballers of Belgium, Premier League Players, Rkc Waalwijk Players
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Thomas Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen
Vermaelen with Barcelona in 2015
Personal information
Full name Thomas Vermaelen[1]
Date of birth (1985-11-14) 14 November 1985
Place of birth Kapellen, Belgium
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[2]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Number 23
Youth career
1991–1999 Germinal Ekeren
1999–2000 Germinal Beerschot
2000–2003 Ajax
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2009 Ajax 97 (7)
2004–2005 RKC Waalwijk (loan) 13 (2)
2009–2014 Arsenal 110 (13)
2014– Barcelona 3 (1)
National team
2002–2003 Belgium U18 5 (0)
2003–2004 Belgium U19 7 (0)
2004–2007 Belgium U21 13 (1)
2008 Belgium U23 5 (0)
2006– Belgium 47 (1)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:48, 23 August 2015 (UTC).
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Thomas Vermaelen (Dutch pronunciation: ;[3] 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.

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.[4]

Being left-footed, he usually plays as a left-sided centre back and can play at left-back as well.[5] 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.


  • Club career 1
    • Early career 1.1
    • Ajax 1.2
    • Arsenal 1.3
      • 2009–10 season 1.3.1
      • 2010–11 season 1.3.2
      • 2011–12 season 1.3.3
      • 2012–13 season 1.3.4
      • 2013–14 season 1.3.5
    • Barcelona 1.4
  • International career 2
  • Career statistics 3
    • Club 3.1
    • International appearances 3.2
    • International goals 3.3
  • Honours 4
    • Club 4.1
    • Individual 4.2
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Club career

Early career

Vermaelen, though quite small for a central defender, started his career in his home country with Germinal Ekeren, which later changed its name to Germinal Beerschot after a merger.

Vermaelen was with Ajax from 2000 – 2009.


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

His breakthrough came when he returned to Ajax and won the 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 and he played mostly as a left-back.


2009–10 season

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.[7][8] After Kolo Touré surrendered the number 5 jersey to him upon joining Manchester City,[9] 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.[10] He became the 84th Arsenal player to score in their debut.[11] He then scored a brace against Wigan Athletic in a 4–0 victory.[12]

Arsenal fans voted him as their Player of the Month twice in a row on,[13][14] and affectionately nicknamed him the "Verminator."[5] He scored an own goal, however, in a home match against Chelsea when a cross came in from Ashley Cole. The game finished 0–3 to Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.[15]

He 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.[16] In recognition of his contributions, he was nominated for the Belgian Sportsman of the Year award[17] and was also included in the PFA Team of the Season.[18] Vermaelen finished the season with 45 games and eight goals in all competitions under his belt.

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.[19] Vermaelen started all of the first three Arsenal matches of the season before suffering an Achilles tendon injury on international duty with Belgium.[20]

He had a new injury setback when manager Arsène Wenger reported that the Achilles tendon problem would keep him out of action until 2011.[21] On 17 March 2011, Wenger confirmed that Vermaelen would miss the remainder of the season with a new injury setback,[22] 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; Vermaelen, however, was an unused sub, 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 FC Barcelona in August 2011, Vermaelen was named vice-captain of Arsenal, with Robin van Persie named captain.[23] On 6 September 2011, he had treatment on his Achilles tendon, which ruled Vermaelen 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 Football 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 Olympique de 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 Athletic to win the match 4–0.[24] 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 Athletic to reduce the deficit to 1–2, with Wigan having taken a two-goal lead at the Emirates. The scoreline, however, 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.[25]

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.[26] Consistently poor performances followed for Vermaelen, however, 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.[27] 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 Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on 6 April 2013 gave Vermaelen a chance to reinstate 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.


On 9 August 2014, Arsenal accepted a £15 million offer from FC Barcelona.[28] The next day, he completed his move after signing a five-year contract.[29][30] Vermaelen was plagued with injuries since his transfer, making his first team debut in Barcelona's final La Liga match of the season. However, he played for the reserve team alongside Luis Suárez. He was thought to be ready for Barcelona's game against APOEL FC in the UEFA Champions League, but was taken off the squad. He underwent surgery on 2 December 2014 for a recurring hamstring injury, and was expected back in 4 to 6 months.[31] Vermaelen started his debut for Barcelona on 23 May 2015 in a La Liga match against Deportivo La Coruña in which he played for 63 minutes before being subbed by Douglas.

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[32] 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 FIFA World Cup.[33] After spending Belgium's first match of the tournament, a 2–1 win against Algeria, on the bench,[34] Vermaelen was chosen to start in the second match against Russia, replacing Jan Vertonghen at left back.[35] However, after 31 minutes, Vermaelen was taken off with an injury and replaced by Vertonghen.[35]

Career statistics


As of 23 August 2014.[36][37]
Club Season League Cup[38] League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Ajax 2003–04 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Waalwijk (loan) 2004–05 13 2 1 0 14 2
Ajax 2005–06 24 3 4 1 5[1] 0 0 0 33 4
2006–07 23 0 5 0 7[2] 0 1 0 36 0
2007–08 18 0 0 0 3[3] 0 1 0 21 0
2008–09 31 4 2 0 8[4] 1 42 5
Ajax Total 97 7 11 1 23 1 2 0 132 9
Arsenal 2009–10 33 7 1 0 0 0 11[1] 1 45 8
2010–11 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
2011–12 29 6 2 0 2 0 7[1] 0 40 6
2012–13 29 0 2 0 1 1 7[1] 0 39 1
2013–14 14 0 3 0 2 0 2[1] 0 21 0
Total 110 13 8 0 5 1 27 1 150 15
Barcelona 2014–15 1 0 1 0
2015–16 2 1 1 0 3 1
Total 3 1 1 0 4 1
Career total 207 20 19 1 5 1 50 2 3 0 284 24
  1. ^ a b c d e All appearances in UEFA Champions League
  2. ^ Two appearances in UEFA Champions League and Five appearances in UEFA CUP
  3. ^ Two appearances in UEFA Champions League and One appearance in UEFA CUP
  4. ^ All appearances in UEFA Cup

International appearances

As of 4 June 2014. [39]
Belgium national football team
Year Apps Goals
2006 6 0
2007 5 0
2008 5 0
2009 11 1
2010 4 0
2011 2 0
2012 7 0
2013 6 0
2014 1 0
Total 47 1

International goals

Score and Result lists Belgium's goals first.[40]


Vermaelen (left) with Jan Vertonghen at Ajax





  1. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 4. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Vermaelen - Thomas Vermaelen - FC Barcelona". 
  3. ^ Vermaelen in isolation: .
  4. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen: Barcelona to sign Arsenal defender on Sunday". BBC. 9 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b White, Duncan (24 October 2009). "Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen earns himself 'Verminator' nickname". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "VZ: De transferobjecten van de Eredivisie". Voetbalzone. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  7. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen joins Arsenal".  
  8. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen completes move to Arsenal".  
  9. ^ Hytner, David (20 August 2009). "Thomas Vermaelen's seamless transition augurs well for Arsenal's defence". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  10. ^ Dawkes, Phil (15 August 2009). "Everton 1–6 Arsenal". BBC News. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen is 84th debut goalscorer".  
  12. ^ Dawkes, Phil (19 September 2009). "Arsenal 4–0 Wigan". BBC News. 
  13. ^ "Vermaelen is EA SPORTS Player of the Month!".  
  14. ^ "Vermaelen is EA SPORTS Player of the Month!".  
  15. ^ "Arsenal 0–3 Chelsea". BBC News. 29 November 2009. 
  16. ^ Bellwood, Tom (5 October 2009). "When defenders attack – Arsenal star Thomas Vermaelen follows Steve Bruce, Joleon Lescott, Stuart Pearce and more as unlikely goal heroes". Daily Mail (London). 
  17. ^ "65 nominés pour les 4 plus prestigieux prix du sport" (in French).  
  18. ^ Bellwood, Tom (May 2010). "Wayne Rooney leads the charge as Manchester United dominate PFA Team of the Year". Daily Mail (London). 
  19. ^ Grant Wilson (31 July 2010). "Arsenal Defender Thomas Vermaelen Impressed With New Defensive Partner Laurent Koscielny". Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  20. ^ Rippleffect Ltd. "Diaby and Vermaelen out for Braga clash". 
  21. ^ "Vermaelen blow rocks Gunners". The Sun (London). 6 December 2010. 
  22. ^ "Vermaelen out for the season". news (internet). 17 March 2011. 
  23. ^ Arsenal F.C. (16 August 2011). "van Persie appointed as Arsenal captain". Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  24. ^ "Vermaelen scores at both ends in draw". ESPN Soccernet. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  25. ^ "Vermaelen – I'm so proud to be captain". 17 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  26. ^ "Bradford 1–1 Arsenal (3–2 pens)". BBC Sport. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  27. ^ "Bayern Munich 0-2 Arsenal". BBC Sport. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  28. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen: Arsenal agree £15m fee with Barcelona".  
  29. ^ "Agreement for Thomas Vermaelen to join FC Barcelona".  
  30. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen: Barcelona seal move for Arsenal defender".  
  31. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen Injury: Updates on Barcelona Star's Hamstring and Return". Bleacher Report. 
  32. ^ "Vermaelen is de nieuwe kapitein van de Rode Duivels".  
  33. ^ "Adnan Januzaj included in Belgium's World Cup squad".  
  34. ^ Chowdhury, Saj (17 June 2014). "Belgium 2-1 Algeria".  
  35. ^ a b "Brazil v Russia". BBC. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  36. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen". Soccerbase. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  37. ^ a b c Thomas Vermaelen profile at Soccerway. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  38. ^ Includes cup competitions such as the KNVB Cup, FA Cup and Copa del Rey
  39. ^ Vermaelen at
  40. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  41. ^ Thomas Vermaelen; Barcelona's official website
  42. ^ "BBC Sport - Football - Rooney is PFA player of the year". 

External links

  • Thomas Vermaelen on Twitter
  • FC Barcelona official profile
  • Thomas Vermaelen profile at BDFutbol
  • Arsenal official profile
  • Belgium Stats at Belgian FA
  • Thomas Vermaelen career statistics at Soccerbase
  • Thomas Vermaelen profile at Soccerway
  • Thomas Vermaelen at
  • Thomas Vermaelen – FIFA competition record
  • Thomas Vermaelen – UEFA competition record
  • Thomas Vermaelen photos
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Ajax captain
Succeeded by
Luis Suárez
Preceded by
Timmy Simons
Belgium captain
Succeeded by
Vincent Kompany
Preceded by
Robin van Persie
Arsenal captain
Succeeded by
Mikel Arteta
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