Former Man United star announces his retirement from football aged 36 as he reflects on an 'incredible journey'... and hints he will stay involved in the game

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Former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has announced his retirement from football at the age of 36.

The Belgian, who spent five seasons with Everton, saw out his career in China with Shandong Taishan.

In an Instagram post, Fellaini said: 'I am writing this post to announce that after a career of 18 years, I am retiring from professional football. 

'But it all started long before these 18 years. I remember, like the day of yesterday, my first game as a child, the endless training sessions with my dad, my first selection for Standard de Liege, and my first selection for the Belgian national team. Time flies!

'What an incredible journey it has been! I am so grateful to have played the sport I love at the highest level. I am proud to have represented Standard in Belgium, Everton and Manchester United in the UK, and Shandong Taishan in China. 

Former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has announced his retirement

Former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has announced his retirement

Former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has announced his retirement 

Fellaini has latterly playing for Chinese club Shandong Taishan, where he won four trophies, after five seasons

Fellaini has latterly playing for Chinese club Shandong Taishan, where he won four trophies, after five seasons

'It was an honor to have played for the Belgian national team at the Olympics of 2008, Euro 2016 and the World Cups of 2014 and 2018.

'I have played in front of the best fans in the world, and I want to take this moment to thank all of them for their unwavering support throughout my career. Your encouragement and passion have been a constant source of inspiration for me.

'All of this would have been impossible without my family, teammates, coaches, advisers and everyone who has been a part of my journey. Your love, guidance, support, and friendship have been invaluable. Thank you!

'As I embark on this new chapter in my life, I look forward to new challenges, but be assured, I will continue to support the beautiful game in any way I can.

'See you soon! ❤️❤️❤️'

The big-haired Belgian began his career with Standard Liege before coming to the Premier League with Everton in a club record £15million switch in September 2008.

Fellaini quickly established himself as a key player for David Moyes at Goodison Park and he played 177 times for the Toffees.

When Moyes was appointed successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at United in 2013, Fellaini became his first signing in a £27.5m deadline day move.

With Everton, Fellaini developed a reputation as one of the most unique midfielders in England

With Everton, Fellaini developed a reputation as one of the most unique midfielders in England

He became David Moyes' first signing for Man United in 2013 as they both moved from Everton

He managed 87 caps for Belgium and came third with them at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

He managed 87 caps for Belgium and came third with them at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

However, Fellaini struggled for form during what proved to be an ill-fated spell in charge for Moyes and was included in many 'worst buys of the season' lists.

He played more regularly in United's midfield under Louis van Gaal and helped them win the FA Cup in 2016.

Jose Mourinho used Fellaini mostly from the subs bench but he made some important contributions as United won both the Carabao Cup and the Europa League in 2016-17.

In all, he netted 22 goals in 177 appearances for the Old Trafford club before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sanctioned his move to China in January 2019.

Fellaini was reportedly earning £18m a year at Shandong and he played 137 games for the club, scoring 50 times and helping them win the Chinese Super League in 2021 and three Chinese FA Cups.

Fans paid tribute to him with an enormous tifo following a hugely successful spell with them

Fans paid tribute to him with an enormous tifo following a hugely successful spell with them

He became a fan favourite after joining in 2019 and scored 50 goals in 137 appearances

He became a fan favourite after joining in 2019 and scored 50 goals in 137 appearances

The midfielder enjoyed an international career with Belgium spanning 11 years and scored 18 goals in 87 appearances for the Red Devils.

He was part of the squad that finished third at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Fellaini left Shandong back in November after his contract expired and the supporters thanked him with a giant banner in the stands. 

His Instagram message suggests Fellaini will stay involved in football as we await his next career move. 

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