Nainggolan: ‘Roma had the best midfield’

Radja Nainggolan named his favourite midfielders, with a focus on former Roma teammates, feeling at home in Cagliari and why self-isolation changed his mind on when to retire.

The Belgium international gave an interview via Instagram during the Coronavirus lockdown.

“I’m handling reclusion pretty well, waiting for news on when we’ll get back to playing. I am starting to lose sense of time, though. We go on the Playstation, watch TV, I have a DJ set that I use sometimes to have fun, otherwise the days all seem the same.”

Nainggolan returned to Cagliari after the spell at Inter in part because his wife is from Sardinia and she wanted to be closer to her family during a cancer battle.

“I’ve always felt part-Sardinian, that’s why I returned. Plus it was the club’s centenary year and they made a lot of investments, even if things haven’t been going that well recently. I am very fond of this place, but I’m fond of all the cities I lived in, really.

“I know people like to write that I create problems in the dressing room, but it’s all invented, I get along with everyone I worked with. I never had to lie or invent anything, I just say what I think.

“I used to say that I wanted to play until the age of 34, but now I’m starting to think 50, because staying at home 24 hours a day is really not my thing! When this situation ends, I’ll have a great night out, like the old days.”

Nainggolan was asked to name his three favourite midfielders and went for some former teammates.

“I always liked Luka Modric, because he can do everything to a high standard. Clarence Seedorf had extraordinary power, he was the only one that never let me see the ball and I never got over it.

“I played alongside many strong players. Kevin Strootman was fantastic before his injury, Daniele De Rossi phenomenal, Miralem Pjanic in terms of quality is one of the best. At Inter, Marcelo Brozovic always makes the difference. Nicolò Barella is proving that even at his age, he belongs in a top club.

“There are many, but if I had to choose, at Roma we had a great midfield with Strootman, De Rossi and Pjanic.”

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