Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini sues New Balance over 'defective' boots that 'damaged his feet'

Danny Boyle
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New Balance executive told Man United player they would 'copy Nike boots' after he claimed his 'damaged' his feet

New Balance executive told Man United player they would 'copy Nike boots' after he claimed his 'damaged' his feet

A Manchester United footballer is suing a sportswear company over "defective" boots that he claims rubbed his feet and left him uncomfortable on the pitch.

Marouane Fellaini said New Balance provided footwear that had to be "steamed and stretched" by a United kit man before they would fit.

An investment company representing the 30-year-old midfielder is now suing the sportswear giant and wants £2 million in damages.

Fellaini, the Belgian international who transferred to Manchester United in a £27.5 million deal in 2013, has been criticised for a number of poor performances on the pitch.

New Balance bosses said they provided "bespoke" replacement boots last year after Fellaini said he was "experiencing discomfort" wearing certain boots.

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They said the Belgian international sent WhatsApp messages indicating he was "content" with the fit of the replacements.

They added that a member of staff messaged Fellaini asking if the new boots were "a good fit for you better than previous?" - and Fellaini responded: "Yeah".

New Balance said Fellaini should not get damages.

Details of claims and counter claims emerged in paperwork lodged by lawyers at the High Court in London. No date has been fixed for any trial.

Barrister Ruth den Besten, who represents Rosalina Investments, outlined Fellaini's complaints in a claim statement.

"The football boots supplied by New Balance were of poor quality and caused considerable damage to Mr Fellaini's feet," she said.

"In order that the boots fit Mr Fellaini, they were required to be steamed and stretched by the Manchester United FC's assistant kit man."

She added: "Mr Fellaini repeatedly communicated his frustration with the poor quality of the boots."

But Ian Mill QC, who represents New Balance, said in a written defence to Rosalina's claim, that Fellaini had been happy with replacements.

"The player orally informed Mr Simon Crawford of New Balance that he was experiencing discomfort when wearing certain boots," said Mr Mill.

"New Balance therefore arranged for the player to be provided with bespoke replacement boots."

Marouane Fellaini, pictured right in action with Ngolo Kante of Leicester City, claimed New Balance boots damaged his feetCredit: Matthew Peters/Getty

Mr Mill added: "The player indicated in WhatsApp messages sent to Mr Ben Robson, an employee of New Balance, that he was content with the fit of the replacement boots."

He spelled out two WhatsApp exchanges.

In December 2016 Mr Robson had asked if the new boots were "a good fit for you, better than previous?" - and Fellaini had responded: "Yeah".

In January Mr Robson had asked "Is the fit feel of the boots good?", and Fellaini had replied: "Perfect for the boots."