As World Cup squads fill out their rosters ahead of next month’s great tournament in Russia, a number of high-profile names won’t feature at the World Cup.
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Belgium named its 28-man provisional squad on Monday, which includes Premier League stars Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, however, one notable midfielder was left out of Roberto Martinez’s squad.
Radja Nainggolan won’t be on the plane to Russia next month for the Red Devils, who take on England, Panama and Tunisia in the group stage.
That decision by Martinez has prompted the AS Roma midfielder to end his international career, which Nainggolan revealed in a social media post following the announcement.
Martinez commented on the Roma player’s omission from the roster.
“Radja is a top player,” Martinez said. “The reason is tactical. In the last two years the team has worked in a specific manner. Other players had those roles.
“We know that he has a very important role in his club and we cannot give him that role in our squad.”
BRUSSELS (AP) Belgium left midfielder Radja Nainggolan out of its World Cup squad despite a standout season with Champions League semifinalist Roma.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has long had a difficult relationship with the stormy midfielder. But after being called up for a warm-up game in March against Saudi Arabia, expectations had been that he would be on the 28-man roster announced Monday.
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On top of the troubled relationship, Nainggolan was also the victim of the unparalleled wealth of talent the small nation has produced over the past few years.
Thibaut Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were all named in the squad, which will be cut to 23 before the World Cup.
ROME (AP) A series of drunken, live Instagram postings on New Year’s Eve has resulted in midfielder Radja Nainggolan being fined and dropped from Roma’s squad for Saturday’s match against Atalanta.
Coach Eusebio Di Francesco says that “In line with the club’s code of conduct, which I fully endorse and the player himself accepts, Radja Nainggolan will not be selected for tomorrow’s game against Atalanta.”
Di Francesco adds, “This is a policy that applies across the board, should anyone from AS Roma or representing Roma make certain mistakes that are no longer acceptable. … Nainggolan knows what he did. After all, he made the video by himself and he has assumed responsibility.”
Nainggolan later issued an apology for the videos, in which he is seen drinking, smoking and playing paddle tennis. At one point in the videos, Nainggolan says he’s “completely drunk.”
Details of the fine were not disclosed.
Nainggolan has been a key player for Roma for five seasons, known for both his offensive and defensive skills and his stamina. His absence against Atalanta is problematic because captain Daniele De Rossi is unavailable in midfield due to a minor muscular injury.
Fourth-place Roma needs a win over Atalanta to get back into the title race.
Hard-nosed midfielder Rajda Nainggolan has been linked to Manchester United and Chelsea for some time, but Thursday linked up long-term with his present club.
Nainggolan, 29, signed a new deal with AS Roma through the 2020-21 season, putting the Belgian box-to-box mid at the heart of i Lupi‘s plans to chase down Juventus.
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Nainggolan has been in the last two Serie A Best XIs.
The 29-times capped Belgian has six goals for his national team, and has 255 Serie A appearances between Cagliari and Roma. Nainggolan has 31 goals and 18 assists in those matches, scooping 62 yellows and two send-offs but never being handed straight red.
While it’s a perceived blow for his Premier League suitors, it’s a welcome retention for Roma. He’s arguably the reason Roma was ready to part with Michael Bradley in 2014, and you can see why: He plays right up to the line but knows right where it lies.
Just a day after Roma president James Palotta told the media that Radja Nainggolan isn’t for sale, he’s ready to put his money where his mouth is.
According to a report by FootballItalia, Roma is close to finalizing a deal that will keep Nainggolan in the Italian capital, helping ward off links to other big European clubs like Manchester United, Inter, Chelsea, and others.
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The 29-year-old Belgian has become a Serie A star since moving to Roma from Cagliari in 2014. He appeared in all but one of Roma’s league matches last season, rated by Squawka Statistics as the fourth-best midfielder in the league. “Nainggolan and Manolas will stay with us, they are not moving from Roma,” Pallotta said on Friday with Roma in the United States for a preseason tour.
Nainggolan has said multiple times this summer that he desires to stay at Roma, but still the links persist. The most natural connection would be to Manchester United where the Red Devils are desperately looking for a midfield anchor. Tiemoue Bakayoko signed for Chelsea earlier today, Eric Dier looks to be an expensive buy, and the Blues have reportedly given United a cold shoulder on Nemanja Matic after the latter snatched Romelu Lukaku.