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Barca thank Vermaelen for snubbing United

VERMAELEN-CAMP-NOULONDON, August 10- Barcelona thanked Thomas Vermaelen for turning down Manchester United and reassured supporters his injury problems are behind him when the 28-year-old central defender was presented at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

Referring to United, Barcelona’s Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta said: “He had offers from one of the biggest clubs in world football and we appreciate the fact that he chose to come here instead.”

Vermaelen added: “This is one of the biggest clubs in the world so it was not a difficult decision to make. Everyone wants to play here and I’m not an exception.”

The Belgium international had been strongly tipped with a move away from the Gunners in the off-season, having never really cemented his place in the starting XI, despite having been club captain for the majority of his five-year stay in north London.

United were believed to have been keen on securing the centre-back’s services, although Barca swooped in late on and quickly wrapped up a deal for the 28-year-old, believed to be worth around £15 million.

“Thomas Vermaelen is now officially an FC Barcelona player,” confirmed the Catalan club on Sunday.

“A few minutes past 11:15am, the player signed a contract with the Catalan club. It is an agreement that binds him with the club for the next five seasons, until 2018/19.”

Speaking to Barca TV, Vermaelen said: “I feel very happy. I’m very excited to play for this beautiful club; it’s one of the best in the world.

“It’s a dream of a lot of people to play for this club, you play with the best players in the world and I’m very honoured to play with them in this team.

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“I expect pressure like always; I played for Arsenal as well and it’s not different from this club, you need to win every single game, so I understand there will always be pressure to deliver a good performance.

“My first goal is to adapt as quickly as I can; it’s a different country for me, a different language as well and coaches, so I need to adapt and see how far we can go.”

-Additional reporting from Daily Mail

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