Radja Nainggolan has said he won’t play for Belgium again and has hit out at the “pathetic” excuses behind his international exile.
The Inter Milan midfielder, 30, was left out of Belgium’s World Cup squad last summer and has said he won’t return even if Roberto Martinez was replaced as coach.
“I’m not going back to the national team again. I said that if I don’t go to the World Cup, I’ll quit, and I’m a man of my word,” Nainggolan said. “I play my football here [at Inter], with lots of love for what I do, but I have a different life outside of here.
“If they change the coach tomorrow and he says: ‘come on, come on’ — it’s still no. Because when I make up my mind, I stick to it. It’s not like I say I’m not interested while this coach is in charge — for me, when I say it’s over, it’s over because I’ve thought it through well.
“Each time there’s an international break now, I get four or five days off and I’m happy as I can concentrate on Inter and other things. It was a great experience, I had a great European Championship and that’s enough. They were great experiences on a personal level. I’m a fan of my national teammates — I like them all and have a great relationship with all of the players, it’s just there are some things I cannot accept, some decisions made about me.”
Nainggolan was a regular for his country until Martinez’s arrival in 2016. He played every game under Marc Wilmots at Euro 2016, but has started just three times since.
Martinez said leaving out a “top player” such as Nainggolan for the tournament in Russia was tough but his reasons were tactical.
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