Barcelona coach delighted as ex-Arsenal captain makes long-awaited return

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has expressed his delight at the return to fitness of Thomas Vermaelen.

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The ex-Arsenal skipper joined the Catalonian heavyweights eight months ago, but he is yet to appear for his new club.

A thigh injury has kept the Belgium international sidelined all season, meaning he has played no part in the club’s La Liga campaign or their run to the Champions League semi-finals.

Yesterday, Marca revealed that Vermaelen could finally be in line to make his debut, while today Luis Enrique has spoken about seeing the defender—who hasn’t played a match since Belgium’s World Cup contest against Russia on June 22—back in training.

“We began training with a great Vermaelen,” the coach began, as reported by Barcelona’s Twitter account,

“it’s very good news for him and for the group.

“He has got over his physical problems,” Enrique continued, speaking of the 29-year-old, “his return is great news.”

Vermaelen signed a five-year contract with Barcelona after leaving Arsenal for a fee of approximately £15 million.

It is hoped that the centre-back—who had an operation in December—will be able to play a part in the club’s La Liga run-in.

Vermaelen featured for Ajax and RKC Waalwijk before moving to Arsenal in 2009.

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