Marouane Fellaini has long been known a force to be dealt with in the air and, on Wednesday night in the Europa League final, he showed just how dominant he can be.
Manchester United emerged from the final in Stockholm with a 2-0 victory over Ajax, with Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan getting the goals to see United win their first Europa League crown and clinch a spot in next year’s Champions League.
The big midfielder won 15 aerial balls in the contest – a record for not only for a Europa League final, but for the entire competition since it transitioned from the UEFA Cup in the 2009-10 season.
15 - Marouane Fellaini has won 15 aerial duels vs Ajax, a new record high in one match in Europa League history (2009-now). Tower. pic.twitter.com/sQYPyOyBI9— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) May 24, 2017
The 29-year-old Belgian international, who joined the club from Everton during the 2013-14 campaign, played in 11 Europa League games for United this season, starting seven and scoring a goal.
It was a night for records, as Wayne Rooney equalled Ryan Giggs’ Manchester United mark of appearing in four major European finals.
Ajax also set a record of their own as the Dutch side fielded a team that had an average age of 22 years and 282 days – the youngest group ever to start a major European final, with Matthijs de Ligt becoming the youngest player to ever feature in a European final at 17 years and 285 days.