Radja Nainggolan admits he wanted to retire at Roma, claims the current side lack ‘personality’ and would replay the Liverpool semi-final “10,000 times”.
Nainggolan seemed on his way to becoming a Roma icon after Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi, but the club opted to cash in on the midfielder, selling him to Inter in the summer of 2018.
“Playing Roma will certainly have an effect on me,” continued the Cagliari midfielder to La Repubblica ahead of his return to the Olimpico on Sunday.
“I don’t know what to expect. I hope they don’t whistle me. It’s difficult becoming a Roma icon after Totti and De Rossi.
“But certainly, I’d thought about ending my career at Roma. I was happy there, I gave my soul, I had everything I wanted.
“Leaving was a great disappointment, but in life paths sometimes cross. Things have become a bit more difficult for them because they have only a few players with personality.
“It takes balls to play for Roma. Everything is beautiful there, but when things go wrong and the fans whistle you, you must have character.
“Strong players are able to block things out. There’s the radio, newspapers... but come on, they spout nonsense. These things are everywhere.
“I never thought about the Scudetto. I haven’t won anything, but I don’t care: I wouldn’t change anything about my career. It’s better to be where I’m appreciated.
“It’s crazy having to sell players by force. That way, a club will never win anything and players are transformed into numbers.”
Despite his frustrations, the 31-year-old almost reached the Champions League Final with the Giallorossi two seasons ago.
“I’d replay Roma-Barcelona for the thrill of it, plus the semi-final with Liverpool because it would’ve gone differently.
“I’d play it again 10,000 times. There was a penalty for us, with a red card for them. Who knows how it’d go again?”
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