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Marouane Fellaini-Bakkioui (born 22 November 1987) is a Belgian footballer who plays for Everton and the Belgium national football team. Born in Etterbeek to Moroccan parents, Fellaini played youth football for Mons, R. Francs Borains and Sporting Charleroi before joining Standard Liège. After winning the Belgian First Division and the Ebony Shoe whilst 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.

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Born in Etterbeek, Brussels, 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.[3] As a child he would run to school while his classmates used to make their daily journey by bus or car.[4] However, Fellaini's father, Abdellatif who was a professional footballer himself guided his son towards football.[3] 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.[3] 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.[5] 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,[6] an award given to the best player of the season of African descent.

EvertonEdit

[1][2]Fellaini playing for EvertonAfter rejecting the advances of Manchester United[7] and following reported interest from Aston Villa,[8] Real Madrid, Tottenham and Bayern Munich,[9] 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 still a club record for Everton).[10] He made his Everton debut in a 3–2 away victory at Stoke City on 14 September 2008,[11] and scored his first goal for the team against Newcastle United in a 2–2 home draw on 5 October 2008.[12] Fellaini went on to score 9 goals in his first season, the most he has scored in a single season at the club to date.[13]

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.[3] At the end of the 2008–09 season Fellaini was named Everton's Young Player of the Season.[14]

In his time in England he has become well known for his large "afro" hair, becoming a cult hero with Everton fans regularly sporting afro wigs as a homage to Fellaini.[3] 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.[13] Later Fellaini reverted to play in his favoured 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.[15][16] 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.[15]

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.[17] 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.[18] In November 2011 he signed a new five-year contract with the club.[19] 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.[20]

In the opening game of the 2012–13 Premier League season against Manchester United, Fellaini received plaudits for his outstanding performance,[21][22][23] as he scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory.[21] 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, an incident missed by the match officials at the time.[24]

Playing styleEdit

Fellaini has often been dubbed 'unplayable'[25] and his excellent chest control has been noted.[26] He is a versatile performer who possesses excellent technique and is a presence both defensively and offensively – regardless of whether being played as a holding midfielder or in more advanced positions.[citation needed]

International careerEdit

[3][4]Fellaini with Belgium in 2008

Fellaini was eligible to play for either Belgium or Morocco. He chose to represent Belgium, the country of his birth, from youth level upwards. He represented the U-23 team at the 2008 Olympics and achieved 4th place, losing to Brazil.

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 in the UEFA Euro 2008 qualification.[27]

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list Belgium's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 24 March 2007 Stade Roi Baudouin, Brussels  Portugal 1–1 1–2 2008 Euro Qualifying
2 11 October 2008 Stade Roi Baudouin, Brussels  Armenia 2–0 2–0 2010 World Cup Qualifying
3 15 November 2009 Jules Ottenstadion, Ghent  Hungary 1–0 3–0 Friendly
4 12 October 2010 Stade Roi Baudouin, Brussels  Austria 2–2 4–4 2012 Euro Qualifying
5 11 October 2011 Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf  Germany 1–3 1–3 2012 Euro Qualifying

Personal lifeEdit

Fellaini was born to Moroccan parents from Tangier and brought up in Brussels.[28] 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.[29] He would later take early retirement to oversee his son's career.[4]

StatisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of match played 12 January 2013.
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Belgium League Belgian Cup League Cup Europe Total
2006–07 Standard Liege Belgian First Division 30 3 7 1 3 0 40 4
2007–08 31 6 5 1 3 0 39 7
2008–09 3 0 2 0 5 0
Standard Liege 64 9 12 2 8 0 84 11
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2008–09 Everton Premier League 30 8 4 1 1 0 35 9
2009–10 23 2 2 0 2 0 7 1 34 3
2010–11 20 1 3 1 2 1 25 3
2011–12 34 3 6 1 3 1 43 5
2012–13 17 8 1 1 1 0 19 9
Everton 124 22 16 4 9 2 7 1 156 29
Career Total 188 31 28 6 9 2 15 1 240 40

HonoursEdit

Standard Liège
Everton
Individual