Born in Etterbeek, Brussels, to Moroccan parents, Fellaini began playing football at the age of 8 for Anderlecht. His first love was track, with the 10,000 metres being his preferred event. However, his father, a professional footballer himself guided his son towards football. He was at Anderlecht’s Academy until the age of 10 before joining Mons. At the age of 17, he signed his first permanent contract with Standard Liege. Between 2006 and 2008, he made 84 appearances for the club, scoring 11 times. During his time in Belgium he gained a reputation for being one of the best box to box midfielders in the Belgian First Division and this 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 and Bayern Munich, Fellaini signed for Everton in September 2008 got a club record fee of £15 million. He made his Everton debut in a 3-2 away victory at Stoke City 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 debut season and despite picking up 13 bookings was named Everton’s Young Player of the Year for the 2008-09 season. Fellaini has been instrumental to Everton’s recent success, most notably helping the club to the final of the FA Cup in 2009 and the semi finals in 2012. 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.
Fellaini was eligible to play for either Belgium or Morocco. He chose to represent Belgium, the country of his birth and represented the team at the 2008 Olympics and achieved 4th place. His senior team debut was made in February 2007, and his first goal for the senior team came in a 2-1 defeat against Portugal. He has gone on to make 35 appearances for his country, to date, and has scored 5 goals.
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