BEIJING, Dec 1 — Former Manchester United star Marouane Fellaini called his five years at Shandong Taishan “among the best of my life” as he bid an emotional farewell to China.
The 36-year-old said in September that he would leave the club in China’s northeast but it is unclear what he will do next, with some reports saying he will retire.
The former Belgian international midfielder/forward won the Chinese Super League with Shandong in 2021 and was also a three-time domestic cup winner.
“This is an emotional moment for me because the time has come to say goodbye,” he wrote on Instagram, saying that he had “pain in my heart”.
“During the last five years I have lived some of the best moments of my professional life,” he wrote to his 2.5 million followers.
Fellaini, who spent six years at Manchester United before leaving for China in early 2019, added: “I am also so glad and honoured to have discovered China and its amazing culture.
“Many times I have told my family and friends that my China years (of course excluding the Covid-period, which was difficult for everybody) were among the best of my life.”
The highlight of Fellaini’s time in China was an eight-minute hat-trick, all headed goals, in a CSL match in 2020, having spent three weeks in a Chinese hospital weeks earlier with Covid.
Fellaini was part of an influx of well-known foreign players and coaches who moved to China on vast wages during the country’s football boom.
Those days are long gone and former Chelsea attacking midfielder Oscar is now the only player remaining in China from those heady times. — AFP