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Jose Mourinho tells Marouane Fellaini 'you will always be one of mine' in a glittering tribute after his ex-Man United player announced his retirement – and tells him 'rest those ankles that suffered a lot'

Jose Mourinho has paid tribute to Marouane Fellaini, whom he managed while at Manchester United, after the 36-year-old announced his retirement. 

The Belgian spent five seasons with Everton before following his Goodison Park boss David Moyes to Old Trafford in 2013. It ultimately proved to be an ill-fated move for the Scot, who was fired before the end of the campaign, though Fellaini proved to be of use to subsequent managers, including the Portuguese icon. 

He played more regularly in United’s midfield under Louis van Gaal and helped them win the FA Cup in 2016, before featuring largely as a substitute when Mourinho took over. 

However, he did make some important contributions as United won both the Carabao Cup and the Europa League in 2016-17.

Mourinho hailed the dedication of the once big-haired midfielder in an Instagram post on Saturday, in which he insisted he will never forget Fellaini’s commitment. 

Jose Mourinho primarily used the midfielder from the substitutes bench during his spell as manager of the Old Trafford club

Jose Mourinho primarily used the midfielder from the substitutes bench during his spell as manager of the Old Trafford club

Fellaini played a part in Manchester United's Europa League triumph during the 2016-17 season

Fellaini played a part in Manchester United’s Europa League triumph during the 2016-17 season

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‘I don’t forget who gave me everything he could give,’ he said. ‘You were and will always be one of mine. Congratulations on your career and rest those ankles that suffered a lot.’

In all, Fellaini netted 22 goals in 177 appearances for the Old Trafford club before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sanctioned his move to Chinese outfit Shandong Taishan in January 2019. 

He was reportedly earning £18m a year at Shandong and played 137 games for the club, scoring 50 times and helping them win the Chinese Super League in 2021 and three Chinese FA Cups. 

The midfielder enjoyed an international career with Belgium spanning 11 years and scored 18 goals in 87 appearances for the Red Devils.

He was part of the squad that finished third at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Fans paid tribute to him with an enormous tifo following a hugely successful spell with them

Fans paid tribute to him with an enormous tifo following a hugely successful spell with them

Fellaini left Shandong back in November after his contract expired and the supporters thanked him with a giant banner in the stands.

His statement announcing his retirement included the suggestion that he may stay involved in football as we await his next career move. 

‘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,’ he wrote on Instagram. ‘See you soon! ❤️❤️❤️’

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