First season at Barcelona was terrible - Vermaelen

The Belgian defender admits he scarcely felt part of the treble-winning side given his injury problems throughout the campaign

Thomas Vermaelen is itching to start the new season after admitting that his first year with Barcelona has been "terrible".

The Belgium international joined last summer from Arsenal but had to wait until the final Liga game of the season to make his debut, as a result of significant hamstring and thigh injuries.

Luis Enrique's side went on to clinch a second treble of Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League, but Vermaelen accepts he scarcely felt part of it.

"I got a medal, but you don't feel like you have won the treble," the 29-year-old told Press Association Sport after playing an hour of Barca's 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in Santa Clara on Saturday.

"I was very happy for the team, but it's not like I contributed a lot for the cups we won.

"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."

Vermaelen says he is now relishing the prospect of returning to regular action after putting his injury nightmare behind him.

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

"I feel 100 per cent now. We just started pre-season so I am adapting still but I had 60 minutes against a good opponent so I am very pleased with that."

Vermaelen faces competition for places from Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Marc Bartra and Jeremy Mathieu, but he says a battle for the first team is only to be expected at the world's top clubs.

"In a club like this there's loads of competition so that's normal," he added.

"We have a lot of great players. It's not easy but that's why you become a football player, to play for the best teams in the world and I am part of that."

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