Radja Nainggolan hit out at “two-faced people” at clubs like Roma and Inter, but also risking the wrath of new fans by refusing to ingratiate himself.
The midfielder has discovered a new lease of life on loan at Cagliari, the club where he first really made his mark in Serie A, having been told in no uncertain terms after just one year that he was no longer wanted at Inter.
“I was jeered by fans when I first arrived at Inter and it’s only right, because I said straight away that the disappointment of leaving Roma was stronger than the joy of being at Inter,” the Belgian told La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine SportWeek.
“I couldn’t pretend to be in love with a club when I’d only been there for one day. The fans didn’t take that week. I got to know a few of them, explained my feelings and they understood.
“It didn’t feel real to kiss the Inter jersey on my first day. Some weak people do it just to ingratiate themselves with the fans. It’s like meeting a girl and on the first date telling her she’s the love of your life.
“I’d been at Roma for four and a half years, so of course I felt differently about that club than Inter. I have never asked to be friends with the fans. I think a fan should support the team and not the individual players. If I became an icon for Cagliari and Roma fans, it’s because I gave my all for the team.”
Nainggolan is honest to a fault and he believes that may well be his biggest problem.
“In big clubs, you see too many strange things, which would never happen at Cagliari, for example. There are no secrets here, it’s too small a community, but elsewhere I saw so many two-faced people.
“News leaks from the dressing room that should never get out. For example, once at Roma I had a bit of an argument with Kostas Manolas, nothing major, but the next day it was in all the papers. The same thing happened at Inter. It’s still happening, as who do you think leaked the story about Romelu Lukaku and Marcelo Brozovic getting into a fight during a half-time break?
“Home for me is Cagliari, but also Roma, as that’s where I spent the most time. I wasn’t at Inter nearly enough to consider that my home. Returning to Cagliari means starting again from the place where it all began.”
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