Positive Thomas Vermaelen Returned to J. League

Former Barcelona player Thomas Vermaelen has been there for quite some time and he has had a massive career in the sport of football with important stops at Arsenal, Barcelona, AFC Ajax, and AS Roma. But not even his experience could stop him from playing. The 34-year-old international footballer from Belgium laced up his boots for the very first time after 23rd February as the First Division J. League restarted finally after the interruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It was the second major tournament to open again in Japan followed by Nippon Professional Baseball that started on 19th June.

Thomas Vermaelen along with Vissel Kobe and his former team-mate at Barcelona, Andres Iniesta captained the league and hosted one of the nine J1 matches in Sanfrecce Hiroshima. The league went down shortly because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus nationwide after just a few weeks of the tournament. Vermaelen who has participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics spoke about how it felt to be a foreign professional footballer coping up with the pandemic-struck nation. He said it is necessary to get a gap of some days, but all the things happening suddenly can affect the true spirit of the games and the sport. With so many days without competition, the competitive mindset can get hampered.

Like most other sports leagues, Japan’s top division professional football league, J1 restarted with so many restrictions and regulations given by the government. It was hard for footballers like Thomas Vermaelen who was not in touch with the sport for the longest time. Having lost more than four months of the J. League, the footballers will be squeezed into 33 matches of the league and two competitions for the trophy by the end of this year. It will be tough for them, but the situation is likely to be on their side.

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