A string of Whatsapp messages exchanged between Marouane Fellaini and New Balance staff have been revealed.
The Manchester United midfielder is suing the American brand for £2m over the footwear they supplied him in 2016.
The 30-year-old Belgian claimed the boots were “defective” and hurt his feet, according to documents submitted to the high court.
New Balance terminated Fellaini's contract part way through the season because he was playing without their logo on his boots. In his defence, Fellaini stated that the quality of the boots was so poor that the logos peeled off.
Barrister Ruth den Besten, who represents Rosalina Investments, outlined the former Everton midfielder's complaints. “The football boots supplied by New Balance were of poor quality and caused considerable damage to Mr Fellaini’s feet,” she said.
Ian Mill QC, who represents New Balance, said the problem had been solved. “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.”
A date has not yet been set for the hearing but the Whatsapp exchange between the two parties may have to examined, if a judge is required.
The Whatsapp exchange
According to The Guardian, lawyers for Rosalina said Fellaini had asked for boots which were wider and longer in August 2016. A month later he had sent a message which read: “a big problem no comfy at all.”
At 2.10am on September 30 2016 he had written: “Hello my friend. I had a game tonight I played 90 min and after the game I can’t walk my friend ... my toe one more than other but both boss I can’t sleep... I have so much pain.”
Later that morning he had added: “I have to see the pedicure this morning.”
Lawyers for Rosalina said in September a member of New Balance staff had replied: “We can fix it my friend ... we have the big dogs working on this.”
Mr Mill said in January Mr Robson had asked: “Is the fit feel of the boots good?” – and Fellaini had replied: “Perfect for the boots.”
Free agent Fellaini
Fellaini's contract at Manchester United expires in July 2018 and will be able to negotiate a contract with foreign clubs as soon as January.
"This is a discussion between Fellaini and the board," Jose Mourinho told reporters. "I’m not involved in contracts, in deals, and I respect both – I respect the player because he has the right to decide his future. So I just wait wishing they will have an understanding, but it’s out of my control.”