Radja Nainggolan confirmed he is retiring from international duty after another snub from Belgium Coach Roberto Martinez. “It makes no sense.”
The Roma midfielder is one of the most highly-prized players in Europe and resisted huge offers from Chelsea and Manchester United to sign a new contract with the Giallorossi.
Yet he has barely featured for his country and was left out of the squad for World Cup qualifiers against Gibraltar and Greece.
“He called me at 11.00 (one hour before the squad announcement, ndr) and said he had the impression I was not focused enough on playing for the Red Devils during the World Cup matches in June. I was about to explode when I heard that,” Nainggolan told Nieuwsblad.
It was reported Martinez turned on him when he arrived late for a tactics session ahead of the Estonia game.
“He didn’t mention it, but we only talked for a minute, no more than that. As for Estonia, I was waiting for the lift for 37 seconds and was late. Other players were late too, I was not alone. It’s always something.
“I am going to stop international football now. It makes no sense. He calls Youri Tielemans who is sitting on the bench and playing only a few minutes at Monaco.
“When he was appointed, Martinez said that the Red Devils must play in top competitions. Now that Axel Witsel is in China, suddenly that doesn’t apply anymore. That’s all fine, but I have to step up my game? Come on.
“Actually, I was in the same restaurant as Martinez in Ibiza. He did not say hello or goodbye, neither did I. How can you work together like that?”
Nainggolan’s rapport with the Belgian FA has been deteriorating for a long time, as before Martinez, he had issues with Marc Wilmots and was left out of the 2014 World Cup squad.
He hit the headlines for smoking at the team hotel and then again over the summer for tardiness.
“It makes no sense to continue with international football. I played 52 games for Roma, who were second in Serie A last season. I always do my best, work with the team, still there is always something, some reason to leave me out.
“I won’t do this anymore. I quit. I am 29 years old and they won’t let me go any further than this. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is.
“I’m being pushed into this situation, so fine, now everything I do is for Roma.”