After 12 years playing for Belgium Marouane Fellaini has announced he is hanging up his international boots. His decision is a little surprising but could have something to do with the fact he is now based in China playing for Shandong Luneng in the Chinese Super League. Freetips.com looks at back at the career of the midfielder.
Born in Belgium the now 31-year-old player has spent time at several big clubs including Everton and Manchester United. In 2008 he signed with Everton despite interest from Manchester United and several other clubs including Tottenham, Aston Villa, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. It was a five-year deal that cost the club £15 million which at the time was a record for Everton and for a Belgium player. It was an interesting start and although he was instrumental in many goals his behaviour and conduct on the pitch left a lot to be desired with ten bookings against him in his first 17 games for the club. Following a hearing, he was bound to good behaviour and allowed to continue, but for a while, the future was far from secure. In 2012 he made 60th on the “The 100 Best Footballers in the World” list which is produced by The Guardian and at the same time was banned for three matches for headbutting Ryan Shawcross a Stoke player during a game with them.
In the autumn of 2013, he made a move to Manchester United where he remained until January 2019, a two-year extension to his original contract. Favoured by Mourinho, he got a lot of pitch time and again was often involved in the goals scored, but the team overall was suffering. When Mourinho received his marching orders there seemed to be something of a clash with caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who favoured leaving the player on the bench, and for nine matches he was only bought on twice, both times as a substitute. This may have something to do with the move to Shandong Luneng six months before his contract was due to end at Manchester United. In the brief time he has been with the club he has made a positive start scoring the winning goal in his debut match.
As an international player, he has been a strong part of the Belgium teams performance, having been capped 87 times and featuring in two World Cups for the team. In 2018 Belgium ranked third, an achievement he certainly played a role in. His international career started in 2007 and has lasted 12 years seeing him rack up an impressive 18 goals during that period. He also played for Morocco, but will now be stepping back from everything but his Chinese posting. “After 12 years of representing Belgium at the highest level, I have decided to retire from senior international football. I feel the time is right for me to step down and allow the next generation of players to continue this very successful period in Belgian football history,” he said.