Thomas Vermaelen is eager to make up for lost time after missing out on Barcelona’s treble-winning season. ‘Playing again was my great victory.’
The Belgium international moved to Barca from Arsenal in summer 2014 but persistent injuries meant his debut was delayed until the very last League game of the campaign.
Vermaelen has said that while he was pleased for his teammates who won the League, Copa del Rey and Champions League, his experience was something very different.
“I was happy for my teammates and the club, of course,” the centre-back told AS.
“I had an operation, recovered well and played. That was my particular treble, my great victory.
“The Coach knows everything and controls everything. It’s true he was the one who asked for me to be signed and he knows what I can contribute.
“[Luis Enrique] saw me train every day I could and I’m not a stranger to him.
“I was very excited when I arrived at Barcelona but physically not good. I asked advice from many experts. I wanted to avoid surgery but it wasn’t to be. I couldn’t get any rhythm or form.”
Vermaelen was asked about watching Lionel Messi - and Luis Suarez and Neymar - and recalled what it was like playing against the Argentine during his days with the Gunners.
“I don’t know if there’s any way to stop Messi. I don’t know how he’s faster, thinking or running,” Vermaelen admitted.
“I couldn’t tell you my earliest memory of Messi, but I can’t forget the time I played for Arsenal and he made four goals in 20 minutes.
“We had the advantage and thought it was possible to conquer Camp Nou…
“I wouldn’t sleep the night before [playing Messi, Suarez and Neymar]. We don’t know the luxury we have with them.”