Former Arsenal captain and defender, Thomas Vermaelen has announced his retirement from football and is set to become Belgium’s assistant coach.
Naija News reports that Belgium’s Football federation made this known in a statement issued on Friday.
The 36-year-old left Japan’s Vissel Kobe after his contract expired in December. He signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the J1 League side in 2019 after leaving Barcelona and went on to help the Asian club to win the Emperor’s Cup that year, their first domestic trophy.
Vermaelen, who also played for Ajax, Arsenal and Roma, will become an assistant to Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.
“His experience during his exceptional career for club and the Red Devils will be a huge asset for our technical staff,” Martinez said.
Vermaelen played 85 matches with Belgium, scoring two goals.
He will help his former teammates prepare for the World Cup in Qatar, where Belgium’s golden generation of players will try to end a run of disappointments at big tournaments.
“I am looking forward to this challenge immensely,” Vermaelen said.
Led by the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, Belgium made it to the semifinals at the 2018 World Cup.
Vermaelen will replace Scot Shaun Maloney, who left that position to become the manager at Hibernian.
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