Marouane Fellaini-Bakkioui (pronounced [mɑrwan fɛlajni]; born 22 November 1987), known as Marouane Fellaini, is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Manchester United and the Belgium national team.
Born in Etterbeek to Moroccan parents, Fellaini played youth football for Anderlecht, R.A.E.C. Mons, Royal Francs Borains and Charleroi S.C. before joining Standard Liège. After winning the Belgian First Division and the Ebony Shoe as a Liège player, he moved to England to join Everton. At Everton, he was the club's Young Player of the Season for 2008–09, when the club were losing finalists in the FA Cup. After five years at Everton, he transferred to Manchester United in a deal worth £27.5 million in September 2013.
On the international stage, Fellaini has been a full international for Belgium since 2007, earning over 70 caps. He represented the team at the 2008 Olympics, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016.
Fellaini was born to Moroccan parents from Tangier and brought up in Brussels; he has an identical twin named Mansour Fellaini. His father, Abdellatif, was a former goalkeeper for Raja Casablanca and Hassania Agadir who signed for Racing Mechelen but was unable to play as his former Moroccan club refused to release his paperwork. Instead of returning home, he opted to become a bus driver for STIB. He would later take early retirement to oversee his son's career. Fellaini is a Muslim.
Born in Etterbeek, Brussels Capital-Region, Fellaini began playing football at the age of 8 for Anderlecht. Fellaini's first love was track, with the 10,000 metres being his preferred event. As a child he would run to school while his classmates used to make their daily journey by bus or car. However, Fellaini's father Abdellatif, who was a professional footballer himself, guided his son towards football. In his first season at Anderlecht's Academy, he scored 26 goals and in his second he scored 37. He was at Anderlecht's academy until the age of 10 when he joined Mons, due to his father getting a new job in the city. Three years later, he joined R. Francs Borains before leaving the club when he signed for Sporting Charleroi. At the age of 17, he signed his first permanent contract with Standard Liège. Between 2006 and 2008, he made 84 appearances for the club, scoring 11 times. He is known for his heading ability and stamina, which made him one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the Belgian First Division and resulted in him winning the Ebony Shoe in 2008, an award given to the best player of the season of African descent.
After rejecting the advances of Manchester United and following reported interest from Aston Villa, Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich, Fellaini signed for Everton in September 2008 on a five-year deal from Standard Liège for an initial transfer fee of £15 million (at the time a record for a Belgian player and club record for Everton). He made his Everton debut in a 3–2 away victory at Stoke City on 14 September 2008, and scored his first goal for the team against Newcastle United in a 2–2 home draw on 5 October 2008. Fellaini went on to score 9 goals in his first season. During his debut season he was booked 10 times in his first 17 games and avoided a lengthy suspension by attending a personal hearing with England's chief referee, Keith Hackett, where he vowed to improve his behaviour. He kept his promise as he only picked up 3 further bookings in 16 games following the meeting, although his total was still more than any other Premier League player. At the end of the 2008–09 season Fellaini was named Everton's Young Player of the Season.
In his time in England he has become well known for his large afro hairstyle, becoming a fan favourite with Everton fans regularly sporting Afro wigs as a homage to Fellaini. Fellaini was deployed as a second striker during the 2008–09 season, when Everton had all of their forwards out injured, usually playing behind another midfielder being used as an attacker, Tim Cahill. Later Fellaini reverted to play in his least favourite defensive midfield area. His performances in late 2009 and early 2010 became so impressive that David Moyes labelled him "as good as anyone in the league", and he re-iterated this after Fellaini won Man of the Match against Manchester City on 16 January. Fellaini was stretchered off in the 34th minute of the Merseyside derby on 6 February after a two-footed tackle by Sotirios Kyrgiakos, ruling him out for the rest of the 2009–10 season. Sotirios Kyrgiakos was then sent off as a result of Fellaini's injury.
Fellaini suffered an ankle injury in an FA Cup replay victory against Chelsea in February 2011 and although he was able to play in a 2–0 win against Sunderland a week later, the injury caused him to miss the remainder of the 2010–11 season. He did not play a competitive match until August 2011, when he appeared as a substitute in a 1–0 loss to Queens Park Rangers at Goodison Park and played the full match in the very next fixture, as Everton beat Sheffield United 3–1 in the League Cup. In November 2011 he signed a new five-year contract with the club. He finished the season having won the most tackles, aerial duels and made more passes than anyone else at the club. He won the second highest number of tackles in the league and won possession of the ball 190 times, the most out of any player.
In the opening game of the 2012–13 Premier League season against Manchester United, Fellaini received plaudits for his outstanding performance, as he scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory. He continued the season in great form with goals against Arsenal, Manchester City, Sunderland and Fulham amongst others. Fellaini was subsequently awarded Premier League Player of the Month for November 2012.
Fellaini was banned for three matches by the Football Association on 17 December 2012 after headbutting Ryan Shawcross during a game against Stoke City, an incident missed by the match officials at the time. The same month he was ranked as number 60 in The 100 best footballers in the world by The Guardian.
On 2 September 2013, Fellaini signed a five-year contract, reuniting with former manager David Moyes at Manchester United in a £27.5 million, deadline day deal. He made his debut for the club on 14 September, in a 2–0 home win against Crystal Palace, coming on as a 62nd-minute substitute for Anderson. He made his full debut on 17 September, starting in a 4–2 win against Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League.
In April 2014, Fellaini was named as one of the "10 worst buys of the Premier League season" by The Daily Telegraph. He made only fifteen league starts throughout the season, in contrast to thirty one starts he made in the previous season while at Everton.
In his first pre-season game of 2014–15, Fellaini came off the substitutes bench to score his first Manchester United goal in injury time, giving the club a 2–1 win over Valencia in Louis van Gaal's first game at Old Trafford as manager.
On 20 October 2014, he scored his first competitive goal for Manchester United in 2–2 draw in the Premier League against West Bromwich Albion two minutes after coming on as a half time substitute. He was given his first start of the season by Van Gaal in the following match against Chelsea, and helped United earn a point against the league leaders. Fellaini covered 12.17 kilometres in the match, the most by any United player, and made 70 high-intensity runs, more than anyone else on the pitch. During second half stoppage time, he contributed to United's goal when his header was saved by Thibaut Courtois and ultimately rebounded in by Robin van Persie.
On 2 December, Fellaini scored his first competitive home goal for Manchester United in a 2–1 defeat of Stoke City. His third goal of the season came in a 2–0 away win at Queens Park Rangers on 17 January 2015. On 15 March 2015, he scored his fourth goal of the season and assisted the second goal for Michael Carrick in a home game against Tottenham in which United won 3–0 and he was voted Man of the Match. On 12 April, he scored the second goal for Manchester United in a 4–2 win in the Manchester derby. On 9 May, he scored the winner, his seventh of the season, for Manchester United in a 2–1 win over Crystal Palace.
On August 18, his first match for the club in the 2015–16 season, Fellaini scored the third goal in a 3–1 home victory over Club Brugge in the first leg of the Champions League play-offs. On 25 August 2015, Louis van Gaal stated that Fellaini would feature more as a striker. After struggling to establish himself as a striker in the next few games, he admitted it by saying, "When the manager asks me to play somewhere, I play there. But my best position is midfield," as spoken to the Bleacher Report. Fellaini scored the first goal in a 2–1 win against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium on 23 April 2016. On 5 May, Fellaini was handed a 3-match suspension by the FA for throwing an elbow at Leicester's Robert Huth. Huth was handed the same punishment for tugging at Fellaini's hair during the altercation. He played the full 120 minutes as Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in extra time in the 2016 FA Cup Final.
Fellaini was eligible to play for either Belgium or Morocco. He chose to represent Belgium, from youth level upwards. He represented the under-23 team at the 2008 Olympics, when they finished in fourth place, losing to Brazil in the third-place play-off.
On 4 June 2014, Fellaini was selected as part of Belgium's 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup. On 17 June, in Belgium's opening match against Algeria, Fellaini came on as a second-half substitute and scored the Red Devils' equalising goal in a 2–1 win. He was then named in the starting line-up for the second match against Russia on 22 June and went on to play every minute of les Diables Rouges' run to the quarter-finals, where they were defeated 1–0 by Argentina in Brasília.
During qualification for UEFA Euro 2016, Fellaini scored two goals in Belgium's 5–0 defeat of Cyprus and the winner in a 1–0 away victory in Israel. Following these goals, on 7 June 2015 he reached five in his last three internationals by scoring the opening two goals in a 4–3 friendly win over France at the Stade de France. On 3 September 2015, he scored his sixth goal in four international appearances against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- As of match played 10 September 2016
|Club performance||League||National Cup||League Cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Standard Liège||2006–07||Belgian First Division||30||3||7||1||—||3||0||—||40||4|
|2007–08||Belgian First Division||31||6||5||1||—||3||0||—||39||7|
|2008–09||Belgian First Division||3||0||0||0||—||2||0||—||5||0|
|Manchester United||2013–14||Premier League||16||0||0||0||0||0||5||0||—||21||0|
- As of match played 6 September 2016
- As of match played 6 September 2016. Scores and results list Belgium's goal tally first.
- Standard Liège
- Manchester United