A day after Edin Dzeko revealed the reasons behind his snubbing of Chelsea, Radja Nainggolan joined the love fest, reiterating his admiration and love for the club, the city, and his desire to follow in the hallowed footsteps of Roma’s patron saint, Francesco Totti. Of course, the dirty side to this coin was simply that, were it not for the rumors connecting him to move to China, he wouldn’t have felt compelled to once again profess his love for Roma.
However, if you’re insecure like me, it’s nice to be reminded how someone feels about you from time to time. And as far as Roma legends are concerned, Nainggolan is quickly ascending the ladder. From his stellar and relentless style of play to his open and unabashed hatred of Juventus, Nainggolan has endeared himself to the tifosi like few non-Romans before him; so whether he was sold for €5 million or €50 million, it would sting just the same.
Speaking to Sky Sport, Nainggolan reaffirmed his commitment to the club:
I am very happy at Roma and see no reason why I should leave...I have everything I need, as in these situations not even a ton of money can change your mind.
I could sign a lifetime contract with Roma, as I’ve already said no to many other clubs. Unless, of course, one day they decide to kick me out. Right now I am happy here and the important thing for me is to be happy.
While that “right now” pangs at our ever anxious hearts, the spirit of Nainggolan’s comments are very reassuring and, much like Dzeko yesterday, drives home the fact that these figures on our illegally streamed pixelated screens are indeed human beings, for whom the almighty Euro isn’t the end all be all.
Nainggolan continued on, singing the praises of Francesco Totti the player and the executive:
He was a player on the world stage and everywhere he played, people would shout his name. I think he earned respect on the pitch for being the champion he was. When he retired, everyone at the stadium was moved to tears. It had to happen sooner or later, but it was a horrible moment for him. We still miss him in the locker room and he represents Roma.
Totti remains a very important person for me. It was awkward for him at the start, but with this new role within the club, he can enter the locker room and tries to be close to the team. It’s always good to have his smiling face and a former player who can give us a hand behind the scenes.
We’ll have to forgive Nainggolan for not putting air quotes around “retired” (remember, CdT guidelines mandate that all references to the manner in which Totti’s career ended must be framed in quotations) but, in terms of winning the allegiance of Roma fans, you couldn’t pick a better role model.
Despite the fact that EDF has rendered him virtually useless, Radja Nainggolan remains of the game’s best midfielders, and certainly one who deserves to win some silverware with this club.