Soccer: Belgium defender Vermaelen leaving Kobe at end of contract

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Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen is leaving Vissel Kobe, the J-League first-division side said Monday after deciding not to renew his contract for the next season. The 36-year-old joined Kobe in the summer of 2019 and helped them win their first major trophy in his debut season with the Emperor's Cup. Vermaelen played in 23 league games and scored his only goal in Japan this term as Kobe secured their best-ever third-place finish. Vermaelen thanked the club and the fans upon his departure, leaving a message on their website that it was a huge joy to play for Kobe and he could share a lot of w...

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