Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan admits Juventus “are still the best” in Italy but insists he does not regret his inflammatory comments about them.
Nainggolan is on record as saying he “hates” Juve due to his opinion that they receive preferential treatment from referees, but the Belgian explained the motives behind his dislike for the Bianconeri.
“Quality of Italian football still the same? The level of competitiveness has risen,” he continued to Il Romanista.
“In my opinion, there will be more balance. There are better teams now.
“Juventus always the favourites? Of course. Their 3-0 defeat to Barcelona was bad, but they’re still the best. I also put Napoli near them. We’re also there.
“Are Juventus still unlikeable and have I ever regretted any of my statements? Never, I say what I think.
“It all started from my days at Cagliari, I saw certain attitudes to referees on the pitch and the referees seemed to be influenced by them.
“When that happened in a match [against Juve], they were given two penalties outside the box.
“I said that it was always the same with them, it never changes. And Juventus attacked me. I only gave my opinion. When you score against Juventus, you enjoy the celebration.
“More rewarding to score against Lazio or Juve? The only goals I like are the ones that help us win.
“VAR? I was hoping it’d be more useful. For now, it hasn’t been. We expected the referee to consult it when in doubt, but maybe I shouldn’t go into these things…
“Would I change anything in my relationship with Belgium? No. I really don’t understand why I’m not respected there as I am here.
“My life is this, I don’t have any disrespect towards anyone, I’m at everyone’s disposal. Maybe they don’t like me, I don’t know.
“I say what I think, always. I don’t think I hurt anyone, I love people who speak clearly. Maybe I pay for that, but I really don’t have anything to criticise myself for.
“Martinez doesn’t like my intense personality? But you can see that on the pitch, I give the most, right?
“I don’t deny that I like having fun, but I think I’m okay. I do my best in my work, which is my passion, but after that I want to relax.”