MILAN (AP) Combative midfielder Radja Nainggolan has joined Inter Milan from rival Roma.
The fee is expected to be 24 million euros ($28 million) with two players – veteran fullback Davide Santon and 18-year-old midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo – also heading to Roma in exchange.
At Inter, Nainggolan will reunite with former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti.
Spalletti says, “Nainggolan is the turbo that was missing in our motor.”
The 30-year-old player was an integral member of Roma’s run to the 2017-18 Champions League semifinals.
He spent 4 1/2 years at Roma, having made his Serie A debut with Cagliari.
Nainggolan announced his international retirement last month after being left out of Belgium’s World Cup squad.
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.
[ MORE: No World Cup for Spanish Chelsea trio ]
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.
[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]
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.
[ MORE: Chatting with De Rossi ]
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.