Marouane Fellaini Discusses Manchester United Exit, China Transfer, Future

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2019

VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 12: Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United  during the UEFA Champions League  match between Valencia v Manchester United at the Estadio de Mestalla on December 12, 2018 in Valencia Spain (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Marouane Fellaini has denied he left Manchester United for China for financial reasons and believes he departed Old Trafford as a "respected player" despite a difficult start.

The former Everton man spoke to Belgian outlet Het Nieuwsblad (h/t Goal's Chris Burton), and when he was asked about leaving England for the money, he said that wasn't the case:

"Not me. I see this as a challenge at a club that has it all. Literally. You should see our medical and technical facilities. I love being here.

"With the Asian Champions League, I'll have to play two games a week here as well. I won't be able to get more rest than in England every week. But okay, it's true that the intensity is different here."

Manchester United's Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini arrives at the club's Carrington Training complex in Manchester, north west England on December 20, 2018. - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was Wednesday handed the daunting task of saving Manchester United's
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

On his time at United, he admitted things were tough at first but he eventually made a name for himself with the fans. He also said he didn't have a favourite coach to work under:

"My first season in Manchester was difficult, but I left as a respected player.

"I gave my very best for this club, played so many games and almost only scored important goals.

"I worked with super players and managers at one of the biggest clubs in the world. Then you can only look back with a smile.

"I really don't have a favourite [manager]. David Moyes or Louis van Gaal. I learned something from every manager."

VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 12: Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United  during the UEFA Champions League  match between Valencia v Manchester United at the Estadio de Mestalla on December 12, 2018 in Valencia Spain (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Fellaini did admit he might have stayed at the club if Jose Mourinho was still around, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's arrival all but ended his spell at Old Trafford.

The 31-year-old also said he's not thinking about a comeback to a European league, but he will consider ending his career in Belgium.

Fellaini joined United from Everton in 2013 and stuck around despite the many changes at the club, playing under four different managers.

While he was initially labeled as something of a flop, he managed to carve out a niche for himself as a battering ram and impact substitution. Under Mourinho he even became a relatively frequent starter, earning himself a contract extension before the 2018-19 campaign.

He made six more Premier League starts before completing a switch to China in the January transfer window, becoming the latest Belgian to join the Chinese Super League.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 12: Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United  during the UEFA Champions League  match between Valencia v Manchester United at the Estadio de Mestalla on December 12, 2018 in Valencia Spain (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Mousa Dembele moved from Tottenham Hotspur to Guangzhou R&F earlier in January, and Yannick Carrasco plays for Dalian Yifang. Fellaini joined Shandong Luneng, four-time winners of the CSL. Axel Witsel also played in China before moving back to Europe last summer.

Fellaini found some success at Old Trafford, winning the FA Cup and UEFA Europa League, but his technical shortcomings often illustrated the difficult spell the club went through in the years after Alex Ferguson's retirement.

The Belgian was never a particularly popular player and his departure felt inevitable, if not overdue. United have been a different club under Solskjaer, who barely saw any playing time once the Norwegian took over from Mourinho.

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