The Belgian defender is to make his long-awaited debut for the Catalan giants, in their final La Liga game of the season.
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique never reveals his starting eleven, or even much of his squad, ahead of games. The normal practice is to announce the squad list, on the morning of a game. However, in his Friday press conference, he made a unique exception and for two very good reasons.
Firstly, the Asturuan coach declared that following the announcement of his departure to Qatar, legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez will start the match against Deportivo La Coruña.
Of course, along with the gesture towards Xavi, who will undoubtedly enjoy the adulation of adoring fans at the Camp Nou, in what will be his last ever game in La Liga, the Barcelona coach intends on making a number of rotations, mindful of the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Club Bilbao, then the Champions League final against Juventus.
Keeping players fresh is of paramount importance, therefore the opportunity also presents an opportunity to rest central defensive regulars, Pique, Mascherano and Mathieu. As such, Vermaelen is guaranteed to start alongside Bartra.
After what has been a long and arguably tortuous wait for the Belgian, throughout countless months of injury problems and recovery time, will now meet with its reward.