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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.

“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