Marouane Fellaini has announced his retirement from representing Belgium at international level.
The 31-year-old midfielder made his international debut in a 2-0 friendly defeat to the Czech Republic on February 2007 and had since become an integral member of the team considered to be Belgium’s “golden generation”.
The obvious highlight of Fellaini’s 12-year international career came in last summer’s World Cup at Russia, where Roberto Martinez’s side secured a best-ever finish of third in the competition.
Now Fellaini has decided to end his Belgium days just a month after sealing a transfer from Manchester United to Chinese club Shandong Luneng.
“After twelve years of representing Belgium at the highest level, I have decided to retire from senior international football,” Fellaini wrote in a statement on Twitter.
“It has not been an easy decision for me and not one I take lightly however I feel the time is right for me to step down and allow the next generation of Belgian to continue this very successful period in Belgian football history.
“It has been an honour to represent my country 87 times and to be part of two World Cups and a European Championship campaign for Belgium.
“I have many amazing memories with the Red Devils from my debut in 2007 to last year’s World Cup in Russia and I am very proud Belgium is No.1 in FIFA’s world rankings.
“I want to thank all those who have been part of my international career especially my team-mates, many of whom will be friends for life and all the coaches I have worked with.
“I would also like to thank all the Belgian fans who have travelled the world to support us.
“I wish the manager and the squad every success for the upcoming European Qualifiers. Thank you, Belgium.”
Fellaini managed 18 goals and four assists in 87 appearances at international level for Belgium.
The former United star scored a match-winner in his Chinese Super League debut as Shandong Luneng claimed a 1-0 opening day win over Beijing Renhe last week.