Amid all the transfer stories, the Football Leaks revelations, the actual football taking place, one story has eclipsed all the others, and what an important story it is: Marouane Fellaini has had a haircut.
The news, shocking millions* around the world, was covered by almost every sport outlet in Europe, with ‘breaking news’ tweets going out, as everyone paid their respects to the Manchester United midfielder’s afro.
A landmark of Premier League football, the Belgium international’s hair inspired wigmakers around Belgium, Liverpool and Manchester, who are now stuck with thousands* of postiches.
RTBF, as any good news outlet should do, decided to go confront the man behind this attack on football fashion, Michel Sebahat, who owns the “Mitchell’s” hair salon in Uccle.
Explaining he met Fellaini during a night out with mutual friends, the two quickly bonded and the Manchester United man ended up trusting the 33-year-old with his luscious locks.
Owning up to being the one who gave him dreads after the 2014 World Cup, Sebahat was also the one behind turning the afro blonde before the 2016 Euros, which he claims ‘gave him a little bit of a surfer look’.
Then came this fateful week when Fellaini got in touch and asked for a real change, wanting a new haircut.
He explained: “After thinking about it for a while, we had a big back and forth, exchanged messages, then he came and we got to work. I didn’t use clippers. I did it old school, gently, respecting the fact Marouane takes good care of his hair, which is of good quality. He’s got a mediterranean hair type, afro-esque, frizzy.
“How long did it take? Impossible to say. We chatted throughout, we discussed our lives. We didn’t see time go by. We’re friends, but we don’t see each other that much, even if I’ve been to see him in Manchester.”
As for the result? “It really suits him, and the people are loving it on social media. We knew people would talk about it. Now, his haircut is softer, he’s lighter. We’ll notice him less on the pitch. He’ll be more fluid.”
Fellaini’s reaction? “He smiled, so did I. We told each other: ‘Wow, why didn’t we do this before?’. He wasn’t that surprised seeing as he’d already had it. He didn’t regret it either. OK, he’d had the afro for a while, but when I started to cut it, I saw his face open up a bit more. It was cheerful and we shared that moment together. Seeing change in someone, it’s always nice. It’s a boost.”
* may denote slight exaggeration