Clubs: AFC Ajax, RKC Waalwijk (loan), Arsenal FC
• Drafted into Ajax's academy at the age of 14, making one appearance in the 2003/04 Eredivisie title-winning season before moving on loan for the whole of the following campaign to RKC.
• Returned to Amsterdam and became a regular in the side coached by Danny Blind, winning the 2006 Dutch Cup with a 2-1 final victory over PSV Eindhoven, and retaining the trophy the following season, under new boss Henk ten Cate, after a penalty shoot-out win against AZ Alkmaar.
• Introduced to the Belgian national team in René Vandereycken's first game as head coach, in March 2006, and became a regular in both UEFA EURO 2008 and 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying; also appeared at the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
• Became captain of Ajax following Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's exit in January 2009 and left for Arsenal at the end of the season for an initial €10m fee.
• Settled immediately to life in England and scored on his Gunners debut in the Premier League – 6-1 at Everton FC – and UEFA Champions League – 3-2 at R. Standard de Liège.
• Also struck his first international goal in a November 2009 friendly against Hungary (3-0), having been appointed as captain the previous month by new coach Dick Advocaat.
• Suffered an Achilles tendon injury during a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Turkey (2-3) in September 2010 which sidelined him for eight months.
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