Born in Etterbeek, Brussels Capital-Region, Fellaini began playing football at the age of 8 for Anderlecht. Fellaini's first love was track, with the 10,000 metres being his preferred event. As a child he would run to school while his classmates used to make their daily journey by bus or car. However, Fellaini's father Abdellatif, who was a professional footballer himself, guided his son towards football. In his first season at Anderlecht's Academy, he scored 26 goals and in his second he scored 37. He was at Anderlecht's academy until the age of 10 when he joined Mons, due to his father getting a new job in the city. Three years later, he joined R. Francs Borains before leaving the club when he signed for Sporting Charleroi. At the age of 17, he signed his first permanent contract with Standard Liège. Between 2006 and 2008, he made 84 appearances for the club, scoring 11 times. He is known for his heading ability and stamina, which made him one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the Belgian First Division and resulted in him winning the Ebony Shoe in 2008, an award given to the best player of the season of African descent.