Madrid - Barcelona's Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen is on track to return to action next month after being unable to make his debut for the club due to a hamstring tear that needed surgery.
Vermaelen got injured at last year's World Cup in Brazil, before he signed for Barca, prompting some to question why the club completed the deal to sign the 29-year-old from Arsenal.
In a message on his Facebook page, Vermaelen said on Tuesday that he had recently started running again and urged Barcelona fans to be patient.
"Everything is going according to plan, therefore I am right on schedule to get back in the squad in April," he wrote. "I am looking forward to contributing to Barca's success this season.
"It's a big step in my rehab starting running again. I am very happy to be outside again instead of staying inside in the gym all the time. It's hard work but it's worth it."
Vermaelen said Barca had been fully aware of the extent of his injury, which had not initially been diagnosed in tests conducted at the World Cup.
"Barcelona did notice the seriousness of the injury when they did the medical and there were two options," he said.
"You could do surgery but they said it's not necessary you can do it with preventative exercises, make it as strong as you can and then it shouldn't be a problem.
"We spoke to a lot of specialists and they all said it's possible to do without surgery so for me it was an easy choice to go that way.
"It didn't work out. We tried for a couple of months and I could feel it wasn't the same as before.
"So we went to get some advice from another specialist, a very famous one, and he said maybe it's time to do surgery.
"I am just following the programme the surgeon told me to do and it's going well."