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Man Utd cult hero announces retirement aged just 36 in emotional post as Premier League legends pay tribute

FORMER Manchester United and Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini has announced his retirement at the age of 36.

The Belgian star left Chinese side Shandong Taishan in November after four years with the club.

Marouane Fellaini has retired from football at the age of 36

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Marouane Fellaini has retired from football at the age of 36Credit: Getty

And now, following three months of unemployment, he has confirmed he is hanging up his boots.

Speaking on Instagram, 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. 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! ❤️❤️❤️”

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Reacting to the post, former Everton team-mate Victor Anichebe replied: “Well done brother! Good luck in your next chapter 🙏🏾💙”

Another ex-Toffees pal, Steven Pienaar, added: “Mashallah brother 🙌🙌.”

Former boxing world champion and diehard Everton fan Tony Bellew also responded: “Best of luck brother!! 👏💙👏”

Prior to his China move, Fellaini spent five-and-a-half years at Man Utd where he made 177 appearances.

He helped the Red Devils win the FA Cup in 2016, before he claimed both the Carabao Cup and Europa League the following year.

The midfielder also made 177 appearances for Everton where he became a cult figure because of his iconic afro and goalscoring ability.

He earned 87 caps for Belgium, retiring from international football in 2019.

At Shandong, Fellaini won the Chinese FA Cup three years in a row between 2020 and 2022 and is widely considered a legend of the club.

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