While Roma fans have had to endure the slings and arrows of yet another tumultuous silly season, losing key players and fan favorites in Mohamed Salah, Antonio Rudiger and Leandro Paredes, not to mention weathering yet another managerial change, it all seemed like the buildup to something even worse, losing Radja Nainggolan. The Belgian’s ascension over the past several seasons hasn’t gone unnoticed in Italy or throughout the continent, leading many to speculate Nainggolan would bolt for a more lucrative payday.
With everyone from Chelsea to Inter Milan scouting his every move and, depending on what you believe, even agreeing to personal terms, it seemed as though Nainggolan wasn’t long for Roma, no matter how much he loved the club and city. Money, fame and the promise of greater glory is a potent elixir, so few among us would have blamed Nainggolan for making the switch; he’d more than paid off whatever debt he accrued while at Roma, so to see him take the world by the throat would have given us some sort of vicarious satisfaction.
But hey, worry no more!
Moments ago the club announced that Nainggolan has signed a contract extension, one which will keep him in giallo e rosso through 2021. While no financial details were provided in the press release, it is believed that Nainggolan will earn somewhere around €5 million per season—a fraction of what he may have gotten abroad.
But that’s really the salient point here. As we discussed recently, Nainggolan epitomizes the player who “gets it”, one who understands the unique bond between this club, the city and the fans. Due to this understanding, Nainggolan has reached an exalted status normally reserved for natural Romans, but through his heart, loyalty and excellence, Nainggolan has become a virtual Roman oriundo; his blood may not be Roman but he’s loved just the same.
With a deal that runs through his age-33 season, Nainggolan is setting himself up to play out the string with Roma. This will be a big season for Radja, with the usual upheaval present, his leadership and grinta on the pitch will set the example for all the new faces on the squad.