Ex-Arsenal man Thomas Vermaelen addresses Barcelona criticism

The Belgium international has called for the Camp Nou faithful to be patient with him.

Thomas Vermaelen made his long overdue La Liga debut for Barcelona over the weekend, starting the newly crowned Spanish champions’ final game of the campaign.

The ex-Arsenal defender started in the 2-2 draw against Deportivo La Coruna, playing 63 minutes before being replaced by Douglas.

The Belgium international has been on the sidelines for the entirety of the 2014-15 campaign through injury, but has recently rehabilitated and will hope to put his woes behind him.

Barcelona fans have been critical of Vermaelen since he joined from the Gunners, with the player aware that he has been criticised.

The 29-year-old has stated that he is looking forward to next season and is glad to have made his Blaugrana debut.

"I only ask the fans to be patient," Sport quote Vermaelen as saying.

"I understand the criticism I've received, but it has been a very difficult season for me. I am convinced that next season will be much better.

"I had a good feeling and I really enjoyed playing football again.

"I am very ambitious and I am sure we will end up achieving more success this season."

Vermaelen could well feature in the Copa del Rey or Champions League finals, but is unlikely to be included from the first whistle.

In the long run the veteran will have the likes of Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathieu to compete with for a starting berth.

The Belgian has the versatility to play at left-back also, but will struggle to oust Jordi Alba from the team.

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