Radja Nainggolan has announced his retirement from international football after he was left out of Roberto Martinez’s Belgium squad for this summer’s World Cup.
The 30-year-old Roma midfielder took to Instagram shortly after Martinez confirmed his provisional squad, saying he ends his Belgium career ‘very reluctantly’.
“Very reluctantly my international career comes to an end,” Nainggolan wrote on Instagram after the squad was announced. 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.”
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…. Purtroppo molto a malincuore termina la mia carriera internazionale… ho sempre fatto di tutto per poter rappresentare la mia nazione 🇧🇪 Essere se stessi a volte puó dare fastidio… Da oggi saró il primo tifoso… Very reluctantly my international career comes to an end…I’ve always done everthing I could to represent my country🇧🇪 Being yourself can be bothering …From this day on I will be the first fan…
Roberto Martinez was happy to explain his decision to leave Nainggolan behind, claiming the decision was purely ‘tactical’ and that Roma’s defensive style of play counted against him when the squad was decided.
The former Everton and Wigan boss stated: ‘Radja Nainggolan is a top player. The reason is tactical,’ said Martinez.
‘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.’
Liverpool’s Divock Origi, who spent last season on loan at Wolfsburg, and Everton forward Kevin Mirallas, who joined former club Olympiacos on a temporary basis in January, also missed out, but there was room for Christian Benteke.