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Ex-Arsenal captain in Barcelona squad for first time despite no medical clearance

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique has named former Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen in his squad for the first time, despite him reportedly lacking medical clearance to play.

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According to AS, Enrique has deemed it important to have a ‘united team’ for tonight’s Champions League quarter-final, second leg clash with Paris Saint-Germain at the Nou Camp, and has therefore included the Belgian despite the fact he is yet to play a game for the Catalan giants.

The report claims that the centre-half has not been fully-discharged by the medical department, which suggests he is unlikely to feature even from the substitutes’ bench.

The 29-year-old’s last competitive game was on June 22 last year, in Belgium’s 1-0 victory over Russia in the World Cup. He joined Barca from the Gunners that summer, but has been sidelined ever since with a persistent thigh problem.

Vermaelen fell out of favour in north London. Having previously captained the side, he was the main victim of the emergence of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker’s central defensive partnership in Arsene Wenger’s team.

He had hoped to prove Arsenal wrong by shining in Spain, but his fitness woes have brought his career to a complete halt.

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