22 Jan 2022 | 16:34 | Football
Thomas Vermaelan left Japanese club Vissel Kobe after his contract expired in December 2021. But instead of looking for a new destination, the 36-year-old Belgian midfielder recently announced his retirement. One of the main reasons why Vermaelan decided to retire early is that he has been structured as an assistant in the Belgian national team.
The Belgian news site HLN said Vermaelan will be the second assistant to coach Roberto Martinez in the Belgian national team. The former Arsenal and Barca star will replace Scot Shaun Maloney, who has moved to lead Hibernian club.
The Belgian newspaper wrote: “Vermaelan is the perfect man in the eyes of coach Martinez. He thinks that no one knows the current Belgian national team better than Vermaelan.”
Vermaelan’s peak playing career is associated with Arsenal. He spent 5 years playing at the Emirates before joining Barca in 2014. At the Nou Camp, Vermaelan could not compete for the official position but remained until 2019.
After leaving Barca, Vermaelan signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Vissel Kobe, the team where midfielder Iniesta is still playing. There, Vermaelan helped the club win the Emperor’s Cup, their first domestic title.
Regarding Belgium, there have been rumors recently that coach Roberto Martinez has been contacted by Everton to replace Rafa Benitez. However, the Belgian Football Federation prevented Martinez from leaving because it did not want to disturb the preparation plan for the 2022 World Cup.