Rabat – Following their heroic performance at the World Cup, Marouan Frllaini and his colleagues on the Belgium national team were honoured by the Belgian Royal Family on July 6 at the Royal Palace.
The Belgian team failed to advance past the quarter final stage at the World Cup after a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Argentina.
However, their performance was certainly appreciated back home, and they received an invitation from the Belgian Royal Family to visit the Royal Palace.
On this occasion, Belgium’s queen thanked Morocco’s Marouan Fellaini for choosing to play for the Belgian national team rather than the Moroccan team, according to daily Het nieuwsblad newspaper.
“Football is a global language. It unites peoples. No matter where you are coming from. We as Belgians are proud of your high performance at the World Cup,’’ stressed the queen of Belgium.
Marouan Fellaini was obviously very excited to meet the Royal Family in the royal palace. He posted a picture on Twitter of the occasion with the attached message: “”Thanks for your hospitality yesterday! Souvenir of a great time.”
In 2008, Marouan Fellaini almost played for the Moroccan National team in the Olympics in Beijing. However, the Moroccan Olympic team’s coach, Fathi Jamal, underestimated Fellaini’s talent and decided to rule him out.
Fellaini was in Tangier taking part in the Lions of Atlas’ preparatory camp when Fathi Jamal addressed him saying, “You won’t play for Morocco. You are very tall, and you can’t play football.”
Talking to Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, M’hamed Fakhir, former coach of the national team, said, “ I tried to convince Marouan Fellaini to join the Lions of Atlas. I talked to his father, who was my colleague in Raja of Casablanca. However, Fellaini insisted on playing with Belgium rather than Morocco.”
According to Het nieuwsblad newspaper, there are currently over 1420 athletes of Moroccan descent with Belgian citizenship. They represent Belgium in various competitions.