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

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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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