Nainggolan admits he’s still bitter over World Cup snub

After scoring and assisting a goal for Roma over the weekend, midfielder Radja Nainggolan joined up with Belgium for national team duty this week and spoke with, here are his words:

Radja, how do you feel right now?
“I start back at something new. I was hoping to be back sooner but this time I’ll stay (in the team). I have not yet digested on not being called for the World Cup.”

How did you deal with it?
“Look, a player must be critical of himself, but also confident. Based on my season (last year), I felt that I deserved to go to Brazil. But I think you look the performance of the national team. If you don’t play, it’s hard to get it to work. But I had to accept it.”

Defour play at Anderlecht, you at Roma. Maybe that’s a reason?
The club doesn’t matter. When I was at Cagliari, I was there with them (Belgium) and with Roma I wasn’t. It is not easy for me at the Red Devils because I almost never played with these guys. Automatics aren’t there. In the half hour that I’m going to play, it’s not easy. My time will come.”

In the new system of the coach, there are two central midfielders and one defensive. There may be opportunities?
“What position? Because at Roma, I also play as a central midfielder. Anyway, I don’t even care about that. The coach may even put me right back.”

You played in the “Match for Peace” with Maradona. Does he still have it?
“He still has good feet, but only in a short distance. (Laughs) If he has to run, he’s less (better). We had some laughs because he is a nice man.”

Like the Pope?
“It was the second time I met him. It was fun.”

And your hair style? Where do you get inspiration?
“Sometimes you just got to change (winks).”

The Editor of, John has been covering Italian football as a freelance journalist for over 10 years and has appeared in various publications including,, and ESPN.