Nainggolan: ‘Inter got off to a bad start. I don’t think the Scudetto is mine. The audios? It was me’


The Belgian midfielder, who has returned to play in his native country, in Antwerp, recounts his adventure with the Nerazzurri

Radja Nainggolan’s experience at Inter was certainly not unforgettable: three seasons, interspersed with two loans to Cagliari, with a lot of shadows and few lights, a lot of controversy and very little satisfaction. Today, the Belgian midfielder has returned to his native country, to Antwerp, his city’s team, to end a career too often characterized by excesses on and – above all – off the pitch. Interviewed by Republicthe Ninja retraces a few stages of his Italian adventure:I miss Italy, my friends, the restaurants, the people. A-series? The level is different: the little ones play in the open because they know there is something to take everywhere. Also in San Siro. Once there, you found Pirlo, Seedorf, Thiago Silva: if you conceded three goals, you would leave with a smile“.

Nainggolan, have you ever felt wronged by your way of life?

If someone is late, drinks, smokes a cigarette, in my eyes he is not doing bad things. Then the Nainggolan on the pitch made it easy for me to accept everything: I never worried about what people said, but many hide. You know everything about me because I go out, you see me in the clubs. There are those who drink more than me but he does it at home and nobody knows“.

But you won a championship last year with Inter.

Yes, but I don’t calculate. For me, winning a Scudetto only counts if you win it as a protagonist“.

Was he mistreated in Milan?

As soon as I arrived I said that I was happy but that the disappointment of having left Rome was stronger. And I hadn’t already started well. After the missed penalty against Lazio in the Italian Cup, they started whistling at me, doubts arose, confidence collapsed“.

I also remember a few audios a bit like that: the usual fake news?

No, no: it was me. I said that I wanted to leave, that I wanted to come back because I didn’t feel comfortable. I sent it to a friend, but you know what Rome is like, right? In an instant, they all had it. I had to know, I wasn’t very smart, but patience“.

Would it have deserved more space?

If I had had faith, I could have easily made mine on this team. Conte is a great coach, but I had no luck with him. But we never argued: when they wanted to fire me, they told me. And the one who says things to the face I appreciate him more“.

Conte wanted her at Chelsea, didn’t he?

It was in 2016, he came to Rome to talk to me, he said to me “look, I want to play like this, like this and I need you”. She already said he wanted Lukaku. But they thought I earned less: I wouldn’t have taken an extra euro, it wasn’t enough to leave Rome“.

The coach who gave you the most?

Spalletti: with him I had the best year of my career, both as a team and as an individual“.


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