Saturday December 23 2017
Radja right to stick with Roma

The Giallorossi’s growth under Eusebio Di Francesco proves that Radja Nainggolan was right to snub the Premier League, writes Vilizar Yakimov.

In a football world ruled by money, it’s almost impossible for Serie A players to reject the chance to move to any of Europe’s biggest teams. Sadly, Italy can no longer match the lucrative paycheques and the glamour that Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain or the Premier League offers, which really makes the decision a no-brainer for most. The Paul Pogba transfer is the biggest proof that even Serie A’s most powerful team cannot match the financial might of Europe’s richest clubs.

After all, who would reject the chance to double his salary and play in one of the biggest clubs in the world? The answer is simple - only a madman. That madman is called Radja Nainggolan, who turned down the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United and is currently on the verge of becoming the next Roma legend.

The Belgian has always pledged his love for the Giallorossi, but considering that in the past couple of seasons he was the best player of a heavily underperforming side, even the most optimistic Roma supporters were slightly surprised by his choice to remain.

Departure for the Premier League would’ve made a perfect sense for Nainggolan, as ex-Cagliari man would’ve finally have the chance to forget his failures with Roma by winning some silverware in England at the age of 29. Instead, the combative midfielder chose to remain and cement his place alongside the likes of Daniele De Rossi, Alessandro Florenzi and the omnipresent Francesco Totti in Giallorossi folklore.

Luckily for the Ninja, his choice coincided with Roma’s revival, as the Lupi have gone from strength to strength ever since Eusebio Di Francesco inherited Luciano Spalletti’s side. Even though they are currently fourth in Serie A, they still have a game in hand compared to their title rivals and, unlike previous years, this term they seem fully capable of a Scudetto challenge.

Not only that, but Roma also managed to restore some of the club’s lost pride in Europe by topping one the toughest group in this year’s Champions League. The Italians finished above Chelsea and eliminated serial semi-finalists Atletico Madrid. The impressive 3-0 win against the English champions at the Stadio Olimpico symbolises Roma’s European rebirth, much needed after a series of humiliating performances on the Continent.

Roma’s improvement on the field has also been matched by impressive progress off it, as the project for the club’s new stadium is already in progress and expected to be ready in 2020.

The Giallorossi also managed to improve the club financially, as despite losing Mohamed Salah, Antonio Rudiger and Leandro Paredes in the summer, Roma’s new transfer guru Monchi managed to add plenty of young talent and depth to the squad, while still making a healthy profit of €23m. With 21-year-old duo Patrik Schick and Lorenzo Pellegrini, as well as the explosive one-year younger Turkish talent Cengiz Under, Roma have plenty of guarantees for the future.

The current state of the capital club is looking pretty good as well, with Aleksandar Kolarov emerging as an exceptional leader at the back. Alongside the talented goalkeeper Alisson Becker and the rejuvenated Federico Fazio, the Serbian has played a key role in Roma’s incredible defensive record of just 10 Serie A goals conceded this term.

Despite all that, Roma are currently far from a finished article and have a way to go before reaching Europe’s top sides. However, with rumours constantly linking some of Serie A’s biggest stars with lucrative transfers abroad, the Belgian’s choice shows that money is not everything and will hopefully give an example to the likes of Paulo Dybala, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Sadly, the magical days of Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti are gone, as football is currently ruled by greedy agents and ridiculous transfer fees. However, Nainggolan’s choice to remain at Roma is proving to be beneficial not only for him and his beloved club, but also for Serie A as a whole.

Have your say...
Radja a total mug to stick with Roma!
I mean, who are we kiddin'?
on the 31st December, 2017 at 10:02pm
...when having the possibility of joining greater teams with bigger prospect of winning silverware and earning 3-4 times as much is worthy of nothing but utmost respect. Juve fans full of vitriol for Nainggolan due to his comments is one thing, but not admitting that his act of staying deserves respect is utterly stupid. Talking is cheap, and that's all moaners do. Nainggolan has my fullest respect, and at the same time I hope Roma keeps losing against Juve so I can enjoy Radja's suffering =)
on the 28th December, 2017 at 10:06pm
For me he is an impressive player, and I thought so already during his first years in Cagliari and he surely has not become less good a player since. I'm a Juve fan, and I really don't enjoy Radja's comments about this and that, and I sure enjoy the victories over Roma more knowing that Radja is suffering. But this does not take anything from the player Nainggolan. This article is anyway about choice of career path, and any player choosing to remain with the team in their heart when having...
on the 28th December, 2017 at 10:02pm
Pinturicchio- Totti won Serie A and Coppa Italia. Bad example
on the 27th December, 2017 at 3:20am
Perhaps he is a good player, but it's also true that he's not needed in Belgium's NT.
And no, I don't rate him personally. He's a literal leg breaker and that's not grinta. If he's content sticking with a 2nd rate team doomed to win nothing and only bad mouth Juve on the side, that's his choice. I think he can do better if he lets go of such convictions, and also his smoking.
on the 24th December, 2017 at 11:22am
I'm glad I'm not the only person who absolutely can't stand this loser. Did anyone else see how infuriated he was at the end of tonight's match? PRICELESS!
on the 24th December, 2017 at 12:44am
Wow, ignorant kids commenting once again. Talk smack about his comments regarding Juve, sure, but his grinta and skill?

Most coaches and teams wouldn't think twice about having Nainggolan in their ranks. Just proves how plastic and plain dumb some supporters are...
on the 24th December, 2017 at 12:42am
@ Pinturicchio

Nainggolan has so much talent... of making himself look like and idiot. LOL
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 10:53pm
Nainggolan has a small mentality, so much so that he launches attacks on Juve at every turn possible. So much cognitive dissonance, it's mind boggling... And he has some idiotic misplaced loyalty for Roma, thinking he can be the next Totti for Roma?? Sure. Win 0 important titles in Serie A, and you will be just as decorated as Totti was in the league. At least in Hamsik's case he has talent, this guy is just a waste of everything.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 8:33pm
Ammm radica is dumb just like totti . The end
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 1:01pm
Nannygolan is a loser . Loser mentality playong for a loser team going nowhere . Also he is oroving to be just a tad bit more smart than totti which isnt very smart at all
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 12:45pm
This guy for me is the best midfielder in Serie A and one of the best in Europe.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 5:30am

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