Radja Nainggolan certainly seems to be taking his omission from the Belgium World Cup squad incredibly well, with the midfielder revealing that he’s already able to laugh at his own misfortune.
The Roma star, who only played six minutes of the Red Devils’ qualifying campaign, wasn’t even included in Roberto Martinez’s provisional 28-man squad for the tournament when it was announced on Monday afternoon.
Having also been left out by Marc Wilmots in 2014, Nainggolan announced his immediate retirement from international football after learning that he’d once again been snubbed, this time by Martinez.
Speaking to Belgian publication HLN, the 30-year-old said:
I’ve had enough, my farewell with the Red Devils is fixed, I’m not going to keep fighting. I had already planned in advance to stop if I was not allowed to join the World Cup squad.
It is true that last year I also considered making myself unavailable for Belgium, but then I still hoped to be able to participate in Russia. To experience a World Cup was a boyhood dream, which has now been taken away from me.
I have secured my place in the Guinness Book of Records as the only top player who missed two consecutive World Cups. It’s so incomprehensible that I can already laugh at it.
Of course, Nainggolan is without doubt one of European football’s best combative midfielders, but Martinez – rightly or wrongly – has already explained that he feels the player just doesn’t fit into his preferred 3-4-3 system, thus putting him below Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Thorgan Hazard, Mousa Dembele and Axel Witsel in the pecking order.
Which, once written down, looks even more ridiculous.
Anyway, go ahead and prepare yourselves for Belgium being touted as ‘potential dark horses’ by ignoramuses who have harboured the exact same uninformed opinion for a decade before they inevitably go tumbling out in the quarters to zero fanfare.