Thomas Vermaelen

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Thomas Vermaelen
2015 UEFA Super Cup 39.jpg
Vermaelen with Barcelona in 2015
Personal information
Full name Thomas Vermaelen[1]
Date of birth (1985-11-14) 14 November 1985 (age 31)
Place of birth Kapellen, Belgium
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[2]
Playing position Centre-back
Club information
Current team
(on loan from Barcelona)
Number 15
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 11 (1)
2016– Roma (loan) 6 (0)
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 58 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 29 January 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 26 June 2016

Thomas Vermaelen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈtoːmɑs fərˈmaːlə(n)];[3] born 14 November 1985) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Italian club Roma on loan from Barcelona. He also plays for the Belgium national team. Being left-footed, he usually plays as a left-sided centre-back and can play at left-back as well.[4] 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.[5]

Vermaelen made his international debut for Belgium in 2006, and has gone on to win 58 caps for his country. He represented them at the 2008 Olympics where they came fourth, at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016.

Club career[edit]

Vermaelen was with Ajax from 2000 – 2009.

Early career[edit]

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


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.

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.[6] 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, and he played mostly as a left-back.


2009–10 season[edit]

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".[4] 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]

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.[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[edit]

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 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[edit]

Following Cesc Fàbregas' transfer to Barcelona in August 2011, Vermaelen was named vice-captain of Arsenal, with Robin van Persie named captain.[23] 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.[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 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[edit]

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 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[edit]

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 Barcelona for Vermaelen.[28] The next day, he completed his move after signing a five-year contract.[29][30] 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.[31] 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 a corner kick to win a home match against Málaga. He was praised by manager Luis Enrique afterwards.[32] 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[edit]

On 8 August 2016, Roma loaned Vermaelen from Barcelona on a one-year deal with an option to purchase.[33]

International career[edit]

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[34] 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.[35] After spending Belgium's first match of the tournament, a 2–1 win against Algeria, on the substitutes' bench,[36] Vermaelen was chosen to start in the second match against Russia, replacing former Ajax teammate Jan Vertonghen at left-back.[37] After 31 minutes, however, Vermaelen was taken off with an injury and replaced by Vertonghen.[37]

Personal life[edit]

In 2012, Vermaelen began dating English glamour model and TV presenter Polly Parsons. The couple have two sons, Raff and Ace.

Career statistics[edit]


As of 12 March 2016.[38][39]
Club Season League Cup[40] 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[a] 0 0 0 33 4
2006–07 23 0 5 0 7[b] 0 1 0 36 0
2007–08 18 0 0 0 3[c] 0 1 0 21 0
2008–09 31 4 2 0 8[d] 1 42 5
Ajax Total 97 7 11 1 23 1 2 0 133 9
Arsenal 2009–10 33 7 1 0 0 0 11[a] 1 45 8
2010–11 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
2011–12 29 6 2 0 2 0 7[a] 0 40 6
2012–13 29 0 2 0 1 1 7[a] 0 39 1
2013–14 14 0 3 0 2 0 2[a] 0 21 0
Total 110 13 8 0 5 1 27 1 150 15
Barcelona 2014–15 1 0 1 0
2015–16 10 1 5 0 3[a] 0 2[e] 0 20 1
Total 11 1 5 0 3 0 2 0 21 1
Career total 231 23 25 1 5 1 53 2 4 0 318 27
  1. ^ a b c d e f 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
  5. ^ One appearance in 2015 Supercopa de España and one in 2015 FIFA Club World Cup

International appearances[edit]

As of 26 June 2016. [41]
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 3 0
2015 2 0
2016 7 0
Total 58 1

International goals[edit]

Score and Result lists Belgium's goals first.[42]


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: [vərˈmaːlə(n)].
  4. ^ a b White, Duncan (24 October 2009). "Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen earns himself 'Verminator' nickname". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen: Barcelona to sign Arsenal defender on Sunday". BBC. 9 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "VZ: De transferobjecten van de Eredivisie". Voetbalzone. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  7. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen joins Arsenal". Ajax. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  8. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen completes move to Arsenal". Arsenal. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  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". Arsenal. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  12. ^ Dawkes, Phil (19 September 2009). "Arsenal 4–0 Wigan". BBC News. 
  13. ^ "Vermaelen is EA SPORTS Player of the Month!". Arsenal. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Vermaelen is EA SPORTS Player of the Month!". Arsenal. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  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). 9 November 2009. 
  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". BBC Sport. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  29. ^ "Agreement for Thomas Vermaelen to join FC Barcelona". FC Barcelona. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  30. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen: Barcelona seal move for Arsenal defender". BBC Sport. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  31. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen Injury: Updates on Barcelona Star's Hamstring and Return". Bleacher Report. 
  32. ^ "Barcelona's Thomas Vermaelen praised by Luis Enrique after winning goal". The Guardian. 30 August 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  33. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen loaned to AS Roma". FC Barcelona. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  34. ^ "Vermaelen is de nieuwe kapitein van de Rode Duivels". De Morgen Voetbal (in Dutch). 8 October 2009. 
  35. ^ "Adnan Januzaj included in Belgium's World Cup squad". BBC Sport. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  36. ^ Chowdhury, Saj (17 June 2014). "Belgium 2–1 Algeria". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  37. ^ a b "Brazil v Russia". BBC. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  38. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen". Soccerbase. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  39. ^ a b c Thomas Vermaelen profile at Soccerway. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  40. ^ Includes cup competitions such as the KNVB Cup, FA Cup and Copa del Rey
  41. ^ Vermaelen at
  42. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  43. ^ Thomas Vermaelen; Barcelona's official website
  44. ^ "BBC Sport - Football - Rooney is PFA player of the year". 

External links[edit]