Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini is a fan favorite thanks to his equalizer in the opening game of the World Cup and his signature afro hairdo. Watch the video above to see some of his tricks.
Here’s what you need to know about the talented midfielder:
1. He is Dealing With An Injury to His Calf
Fellaini reportedly left the training field before the finish of the final session before flying to Salvador for the Round of 16 match vs. the U.S.A.
According to Belgium’s manager Marc Wilmots, Fellaini’s injury is not a serious one and he will still be starting against the USMNT. The injury was a bruised calf alongside teammate Moussa Dembele who also suffered a minor injury to his calf.
2. His Transfer Fee to Manchester United Was $36.7 Million
He signed a 5-year contract with Manchester United after 5 years at Everton. Before he chose Everton, the top clubs in the world were showing interest in him including Real Madrid, Aston Villa, Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur.
The Belgian midfielder has yet to transfer his talent to Manchester United with no goals in 21 appearances and was deemed one of the “10 worst buys of the Premier League season” according to The Daily Telegraph.
3. He Scored a Goal Against Algeria in the World Cup Opener
Belgium played the recently fallen Algerian national team in their opening match in the world cup. Fellaini scored Belgium’s first goal of the game after coming in as a substitute to keep Belgium in the game which they eventually won 2-1. After that he was made a starter for the tournament. Watch the video above to see his clutch equalizer.
4. He is Famous For His Afro
Fellaini is the son of two Moroccan immigrants that settled in Brussels where Fellaini was born. Even though Man U fans have not yet felt he Fellaini has shown his worth for the club, he is still largely popular in Belgium. The people of Belgium adore him and his signature hair which has become a huge trend in games in Brazil’s World Cup.
You can find Belgium fans wearing huge Afro wigs to represent their pride for Fellaini and the team. When Fellaini found out a 12-year-old was a huge fan, he even sent her an Afro wig to thank the kid for his support. Watch the video above to see him give away the Afro wig.
5. He is One of Three Muslim Belgium Players Debating Whether or Not to Fast
As a descendant of Moroccan heritage, Fellaini is a practicing Muslim which has posed some challenges in the 2014 World Cup and as 1 of 10 Muslim players in the Premier League for the same reason- fasting.
Unfortunately for Muslim players for Belgium, including Mousa Dembele and Adnan Januzaj, Ramadan falls during the tournament for the first time in 30 years (June 28- July 28). Players on other teams in the tournament effected include 5 players on Switzerland ( Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka, Haris Seferovic, Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri ), a German player ( Mesut Ozil ) and 4 French players ( Karim Benzema, Bacary Sagna, Mamadou Sakho and Moussa Sissoko ).
Fasting during Ramadan requires Muslims so go without food and liquids from sunrise to sunset, which could be extremely dangerous for the players playing in a climate like Brazil’s.
Much to the displeasure of the Muslim community, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami of Switzerland and Mesut Ozil of Germany have announced their decisions to skip the fasting this year for the sake of their health and quality of play.
Fellaini has not announced his decision and many are choosing to keep their decisions private.
Science has already proved that if you do physical exercise without eating you experience serious problems. Therefore, it is more sensible to allow players to not fast during this period.”
The ministry is encouraging players to make up the fasting period later.