Nainggolan looks back on the tensions with Martinez: “He was afraid that I would put a bad atmosphere in the locker room”

The story between Radja Nainggolan and the Red Devils came to an end after the arrival of Roberto Martinez as national manager. The relationship between the two men has never been good and the player from Antwerp returned to this period during the program Extra Time broadcast on the VRT.

“If I have so few caps with the Red Devils, it is only Martinez’s fault and not because of my rhythm of life”, directly explained Nainggolan who believes he never really received his chance under Martinez , “I had achieved a good Euro 2016 (Editor’s note: under Marc Wilmots) but from the first games after his arrival, I was kicked out of the team.” Holder against Spain in the first match under the leadership of the current coach, the Ninja was taken out at half-time and played only 6 minutes in the next match against Cyprus before being dismissed for the four subsequent encounters of the Red Devils.

Gradually removed from the selection, Martinez’s speech did not get through to Nainggolan: “He always said to me: ‘you are a good player’, but I was not playing. ‘You deserve to play’, but I was not playing. These are things you should not say to a player, certainly not to me. I have said publicly that I do not agree with his decision. I prefer people who face it to me. “, explained the midfielder on the VRT, “we had a 30-minute meeting in Rome and he told me that he could not give me in the national team the role I had at Roma. I told him that I would already be happy to ‘to be included in the selection of 25 or 26 names. He thought that if he put me on the bench, I was going to put a bad vibe in the group. But I never had any problem sitting on the bench. bench. I understood then that it was over for me in the national team. “

While his relationship with Martinez is not good, Nainggolan has fond memories of his predecessor: “I had a good relationship with Wilmots and Borkelmans. They accepted me for who I am”, he recalls. At the time, a video showing Nainggolan smoking during a rally with the Devils leaked on social media and sparked controversy. “I was allowed to smoke cigarettes on the balcony? Yes and so, why is that a problem? We are well trained, our lungs are trained. I don’t see anything wrong with smoking. I was doing it rather to avoid stress. It relaxes me so why can’t I do it? ”

But for him, at 33, the chapter of the national team is definitely closed: “Even with many absences, Martinez will never call me back because he is too proud for that. But even if he did, I would refuse. It would be too easy.”

At the start of the show, in the game of “Yes or No”, the question of whether he intended to return to the national team the day Martinez would no longer be present, the Ninja replied firmly: “No no no!”

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Nainggolan looks back on the tensions with Martinez: “He was afraid that I would put a bad atmosphere in the locker room”