- 30-year-old Radja Nainggolan made the Guinness book of Record after over 10,000 fans signed a petition on his behalf
- The midfielder was excluded from the Belgium World Cup going to this year's World Cup in Russia
- He had impressive season for his Italian Serie A side Roma in all competition
AS Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has thrown jibes at Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez after being snubbed in the team for this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The 30-year-old had an impressive season with his Italian Serie A side in all competitions in the recently concluded season.
He scored four goals in 31 Italian topflight appearances for the Stadio Olimpico side, and also powered them to their first ever Champions League semifinals – where they crashed out after losing 7-6 to Liverpool.
However, playmaker was overlooked in the Red Devils team for the global showpiece in Russia, and as a result, he announced his international retirement.
After being overlooked for the second time on a row for the championship, Nainggolan told Belgian news outlet HLN: “I have secured my place in the Guinness Book of Records as the only top player who missed two consecutive World Cups. It’s so incomprehensible that I can already laugh at it.”
He added that hes decision to retire was motivated by his exclusion from his country’s national team after earning 30 caps: “I’ve had enough, my farewell with the Red Devils is fixed, I'm not going to keep fighting.
“I had already planned in advance to stop if I was not allowed to join the World Cup squad.
“It is true that last year I also considered making myself unavailable for Belgium, but then I still hoped to be able to participate in Russia.
“To experience a World Cup was a boyhood dream, which has now been taken away from me.”
Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Thorgan Hazard, Mousa Dembele and Axel Witsel are among the midfielders currently ahead of Nainggolan in the pecking order.
Martinez has defended his selection, with the former Everton manager claiming to have picked those who best fit his preferred system.
He said: “Radja Nainggolan is a top player. The reason is tactical.
“In the past two years the team has worked in a specific manner. Other players had those roles. We know Radja has a very important role in his club and we cannot give him that role in our squad.”
Nainggolan will now be watching on from afar when Belgium open their World Cup campaign against Panama on June 18 , before going on to face Tunisia and England in their other Group G fixtures.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Radja Nainggolan has announced his retirement from international football after being excluded from the Belgium’s World Cup squad.
The 30-year-old had an impressive year for his Italian Serie A side in the Champions League after helping them to reach the semifinal round of the competition this year.
He was impressive for the Stadio Olimpico outfit in the recently concluded season – helping them reach the semi final of the Champions League for the first time, and also finished third on the Italian league table.
But the midfielder was a conspicuous miss in Roberto Martinez’s 23-man contingent to this summer’s event in Russia.
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