Ahead of Barcelona's Champions League round of 16 clash against Chelsea on Tuesday night, Thomas Vermaelen told The Guardian about the challenges he has had to overcome, the supposedly wrong opinion of Barcelona defenders, his former manager and more.
“In my first year (at Nou Camp) I was injured the whole year apart from one game at the end against Deportivo when we were already champions. Then I played about 20 (18 in actual) games in the second, some of those coming on, not starting. And now I had a run of games and I felt like I had finally started," says Vermaelen having had a good run of matches in what is his fourth season with the Catalan club. Vermaelen could start against Chelsea on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge.
He also speaks of the opinion people have of Barcelona defenders: “People have a bit of a wrong view of defenders in Barcelona because they think: ‘Ah it’s an easy job, they only attack, attack, attack’ but the demands are very high.”
In a timely development of sorts, Luis Enrique has been linked with the Chelsea job and Antonio Conte is widely reported to be on the brink. Enrique won the treble with Barcelona in the 2014-15 season, before the start of which Vermaelen had made the switch from Emirates.
And this Belgian centre-back thinks his former manager can succeed in the Premier League. "I think so. I think it’s similar to what you’re seeing with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. You bring a bit of the Spanish influence into English football and it might take time but it can work very well."