Radja Nainggolan announces international retirement after being left out of Belgian football world cup squad

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

On Monday, Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan announced his retirement from international football after he was left out of the national team squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup upcoming in June.

Radja Nainggolan, who plays for Italian club AS Roma, posted on Twitter saying, "Very reluctantly my international career comes to an end...I've always done everything I could to represent my country[...] Being yourself can be bothering ...From this day on I will be the first fan" ((nl))Dutch language: ‍Met veel pijn in het hart maak ik een einde aan men internationale carriere... ik heb er altijd alles aangedaan om er bij te zijn en belgie te vertegenwoordigen[...] spijtig genoeg is ECHT zijn niet goed voor SOMMIGE... En vanaf vandaag zal ik de eerste supporter zijn.

Nainggolan announced his decision soon after Roberto Martinez, Belgium team manager, shortlisted 28 players for the Russia World Cup. Martinez travelled to Rome to inform Nainggolan about his decision before announcing the shortlisted players. Nainggolan, who turned 30 earlier this month, scored two goals for AS Roma against English club Liverpool FC in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final. In 2017, Roma club supporters voted Nainggolan the club's Player of the Season.

Explaining his decision to leave out Nainggolan, manager Martinez said, "It was a sad and difficult decision. He is a player with a lot of class and he was voted Roma's best player, but I've made my decision for purely tactical reasons." The Spaniard added, "We know that Radja has a very important role in his club and we cannot give him that role in our squad".

Martinez is to finalise and submit a 23-man squad for the World Cup tournament on June 4, after his team plays against Portugal in a friendly scheduled for June 2 in the Belgian capital Brussels. After Nainggolan was left out of the squad, former Belgian international Philippe Albert said, "We must be the only country in the world to be making the trip without one of the best players in the world".

Belgium is in Group G for the World Cup, along with England, Panama, and Tunisia. Belgium is currently world number three in the FIFA rankings.

Sources

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