After a full year of not playing and battling injury, Thomas Vermaelen is finally ready to help Barcelona this season. He had some good minutes of preseason time, and he seemed comfortable on the field and didn't seem remotely bothered by any physical problem.
He is finally injury-free, and he's ready to show why he was signed to the best team on the planet. But Gerard Piqué and Javier Mascherano are the undeniable starters, and Jérémy Mathieu is the clear third choice at center-back. Vermaelen has work to do to earn a starting role, but until that day comes, he won't complain about being on the bench.
In an interview following Monday's training session, the Belgium international talked to the press about fighting for a starting spot, his relationship with his teammates and manager Luis Enrique, and being fully free from injury.
Here's a few quotes from The Verminator:
"I'm not expecting to start in the Spanish Super Cup. I have to be realistic.
"[Last year was] "the worst of my career. It's very hard to arrive at a new club and not be able to play with your teammates.
"[Piqué] is the player I'm closest to on the pitch and he usually talks to me more.
"Luis Enrique is a conversationalist, but I can't say he's given me any advice in particular. He is a person that speaks very clearly.
"Now I'm fine. My goal is keep preparing and get a rhythm."