ball sports

From FC Barcelona to Vissel Kobe: Belgium’s Thomas Vermaelen joins Andres Iniesta, David Villa in new club

Thomas Vermaelen

From Futbol Club Barcelona, Thomas Vermaelen, 33, of Belgium is moving to a new football club. He played for the Spanish professional football club based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain from mid-2014 to early 2019.

Recenty, Vissel Kobe signed Vermaelen on a free transfer. He is joining his fellow former FC Barcelona players David “El Guaje” Villa, 37, and Andres Iniesta, 35, who are both from Spain, in the Japanese professional football club that is currently playing in the J1 League.

Villa played for FC Barcelona from 2010 to 2013 while Iniesta was in the team from 2001 to 2018. Vissel Kobe signed the latter on May 24, 2018 and the former on December 1, 2018.

“When I came here, I had a very warm welcome and a lot of support,” Sports Star quoted Vermaelen as saying upon signing for Vissel Kobe. “I can’t wait to start. I’m excited about it. I would like to do my best to improve the team.”

Born in Antwerp, Belgium on November 14, 1985, Vermaelen started his youth career in 1991 with the Belgian football club Germinal Ekeren, which was renamed Germinal Beerschot in 1999. He joined the Dutch professional football club Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax in 2000 and made his professional debut in 2003.

On June 19, 2009, Arsenal Football Club signed Vermaelen. He officially moved to FC Barcelona on August 9, 2014.

Associazione Sportiva Roma loaned Vermaelen from FC Barcelona on August 8, 2016. He returned to the latter on November 26, 2017.

On July 27, 2019, FC Barcelona and Vissel Kobe competed in a pre-season friendly at the Noevir Stadium Kobe in in Misaki Park, Hyogo-ku, Kobe, Japan. The final score was 0-2 in favor of the Spanish professional football club.

Including Vermaelen, Iniesta and Villa, Vissel Kobe’s squad currently has 44 players. It also has five players currently out on loan.

On June 8, 2019, Thorsten Fink, 51, of Germany replaced Juan Manuel Lillo, 53, of Spain as the manager of Vissel Kobe. Iniesta is the team captain.

Here is a clip from the recent match between FC Barcelona and Vissel Kobe:

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