Marouane Fellaini says he might have still be at Manchester United now if Jose Mourinho had not been sacked as manager.
The Belgium international ended a five-and-a-half year stay at Old Trafford when he moved to Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng in the January transfer market.
Fellaini was a key player under Mourinho – as well as previous boss Louis van Gaal – and signed a new deal at United until 2020, with the option of another year, in the summer.
The midfielder only managed 31 minutes under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the Norwegian took caretaker charge in December and Fellaini has explained his reasons for leaving.
“I went to Shandong Luneng now because they were interested for years already,” Fellaini told Het Niuewsblad. “And I felt ready for a new challenge, a new culture, a new life.
“Okay, I’m only 31 years old. But I signed for three years. Afterwards I’m 34, then it would be too late to go to China.
“I could have joined a top European club and been important there for two more years, that would have been no problem. But after 10 years and 350 games in England, I felt ready for this step. I’m happy with my choice.
“I’m already a professional for more than 12 years and everything went fine. I made my own choices and don’t regret anything. I played at Standard [Liege], the biggest club in Belgium and won titles there. I went as a record transfer to the Premier League and opened doors to England for other Belgian players.
“At Everton I did well and at United I won some cups and a Europa League. The only thing missing is a Premier League title, that’s true.
“But I don’t dream anymore about a comeback to European top football. But maybe a comeback to Belgium, why not?”
On whether finances influenced his thinking before penning a reportedly lucrative contract in China, Fellaini added: “Not me. I see this as a challenge at a club that has it all. Literally. You should see our medical and technical facilities. I love being here.
“With the Asian Champions League, I’ll have to play two games a week here as well. I won’t be able to get more rest than in England every week. But okay, it’s true that the intensity is different here.”
On his time at United, Fellaini continued: “My first season in Manchester was difficult, but I left as a respected player.
“I gave my very best for this club, played so many games and almost only scored important goals.
“I worked with super players and managers at one of the biggest clubs in the world. Then you can only look back with a smile.
“I really don’t have a favourite [manager]. David Moyes or Louis van Gaal. I learned something from every manager.”
On whether he would still be at United if Mourinho had remained as manager, Fellaini said: “I don’t know. In football there are opportunities that come and go. But I still had a contract at United, so maybe I would still be there.”