Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelenspent over two years at Japanese club Vissel Kobe before announcing his retirement earlier this year. Vissel Kobe turned out to be the last profesisonal club for Thomas Vermaelen before his announcement. The ex-Arsenal and Ajax Amsterdam player signed for Vissel Kobe onthe back of his time with La Liga giants Barcelona.

Thomas Vermaelen spent two more years at Barcelona after returning to the club from a one-year loan deal at AS Roma in the summer of 2017.He made his first Barcelona start on his return from his loan deal at the StadioOlimpico during the 1-1 draw at Valencia in the league game played on November 26, 2017. Vermaelen went on to feature in the Barcelona starting XI in seven of the next eightleague fixtures before picking up an injury during the 3-0 away win over Real Madrid in the El Clasico.

Vissel Kobe officially signed Thomas Vermaelen as a free agent on July 27, 2019 as he penned a two-and-a-half year deal at the Japanese club. He was able to reunite with some of his Barcelona teammates at the club. Vermaelen met Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta, Sergi and Samper at Vissel Kobe, while ex-Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski was also at the club at the time of his signing.

Thomas Vermaelen his first trophy at Vissel Kobe on the first day of 2020. He was in the starting XI as Vissel Kobe beat Kashima Antlers 2-0 during the 2019 Emperor’s Cup final. Five weeks later, he was one ofnine successive players who missed their penalty during the shootout in the Japanese Super Cup. Vermaelen and Vissel Kobe eventually won the Super Cup after Hotaru Yamaguchi scored his penalty.

Vermaelen scored his first goal for Vissel Kobe during the 1-1 draw with Cerezo Osaka in the league.