Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has said he's been unjustly portrayed as a "murderer" and a "villain" during his time in English football, which could be drawing to a close at the end of this season.
The 30-year-old is reportedly considering an exit when his contract expires in the summer, and he told Belgian magazine Humo (h/t Daily Mail's Chris Wheeler) of his annoyance with how he's seen in the Premier League:
"They have labelled me an aggressive player, a murderer.
Look, I'm fanatical. The team that wants it the hardest wins. But there have been times when I came out as the villain. What should I do if they pull me by the hair? It sounds like a joke, but it really hurts.
"Players often try to provoke me but do you know how many yellow cards I collected last season? Four, in 45 matches. I've never destroyed someone's career."
Fellaini earned a retrospective three-match ban in May 2016 for an elbow on Leicester defender Robert Huth, although the latter was handed the same punishment for tugging the Belgian's hair, proof he wasn't innocent, either.
The most infamous of his two red cards in United colours came against Manchester City for a clash of heads with striker Sergio Aguero, although he suggested the Argentinian's exaggeration of the incident was partly to blame.
Fellaini said: "Last season I was suspended after the derby against City for a headbutt against Aguero. He stepped towards me and then dropped dead. But, no, I get the red."
For whatever reputation the Belgian may hold as an enforcer, there's little arguing with the winning streak United have developed when he's played this season, as was recently illustrated by WhoScored.com:
Wheeler added the player is seeking £170,000 per week and has turned down United's offer to improve his current £120,000-per-week earnings. Belgian football journalist John Chapman provided further context:
The 6'5" target has held a reputation as a symbol of David Moyes' forgettable year at United, having been infamously signed from the Toffees for £27.5 million, £4 million more than the Red Devils needed to have paid in 2013.
Fellaini is confident in his own ability and insisted he has "no need to prove anything—not in England or in Belgium," adding that "nothing can touch" him as he approaches the end of his 10th campaign in England.
Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News listed Fellaini as one of the figures who could leave the Theatre of Dreams this season as manager Jose Mourinho seeks more squad improvements:
He went on to suggest another offer from United "will probably follow," but he doesn't know if he will accept it. Perhaps his frustrations with his image in England mean only a significantly improved offer will convince him to stay.