Football News

“I never got over it” – The midfielders who earned Radja Nainggolan’s admiration

By Steve Jennings

Published: 10:35, 25 March 2020

Former Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has named Luka Modric and Clarence Seedorf chief among his favourite midfielders.

Like most footballers across the globe, Nainggolan is currently spending the majority of his time indoors due to the coronavirus crisis, and he used the opportunity to answer questions via Instagram.

How is Nainggolan getting on at Cagliari? Five things to know…

  • Nainggolan’s move from Roma to Inter in 2018 was anything but a success and he is now back on loan at former club Cagliari.
  • He made 137 appearances during his first spell with Cagliari, from whom he joined Roma in 2014.
  • This season, Nainggolan has scored five goals and registered five assists in 21 Serie A appearances.
  • However, he is unlikely to work his way back into the Belgium squad having not played for his country since 2018.
  • Nainggolan was named in the Serie A Team of the Year in four successive seasons from 2015 to 2018.

The 31-year-old, who is currently on loan at Cagliari from Inter Milan, was asked to name his three favourite midfielders and responded by waxing lyrical about Modric and Seedorf.

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

Nainggolan went on to heap praise on some of his ex-teammates from Roma, where he spent four years of his career before leaving for Inter in 2018.

“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,” said the Belgian.

“At Inter, Marcelo Brozovic always makes the difference. Nicolo 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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Having entered the twilight years of his career, Nainggolan would be excused for thinking about winding down as retirement age approaches.

However, staying indoors has caused the midfielder to contemplate the speed at which he wants to bring his playing days to an end.

He added: “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.”