Vermaelen's out to prove himself

Thomas Vermaelen is determined to prove himself at Barcelona next season after enduring a "terrible" maiden campaign at the Nou Camp.

Barca signed Vermaelen from Arsenal for £15million last summer, but the Belgian struggled to recover from a hamstring strain he suffered at the World Cup and then sustained a serious thigh injury.

Vermaelen watched on in frustration as his team-mates completed a historic treble. The 29-year-old had to wait until the final league game of the season to make his debut.

He has come through the first two games of Barca's pre-season tour of the United States unscathed and is optimistic about maintaining his fitness in the build-up to the new campaign.

"I am very happy and very pleased to be back," the former Arsenal defender said. "There's nothing better than to feel fit.

"Last year was terrible. It was a nasty injury, a very difficult one and I am very happy that the feeling in the legs is perfect again, like it should be."