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Nainggolan reveals ‘pact’ with Inter to deal with problems

Radja Nainggolan has revealed he’s made a pact with Inter Milan after they suspended him due to his behaviour off the field.

The 30-year-old Belgian midfielder, who has a chequered history, was punished by the Nerazzurri after he appeared late to training for the fourth time last December.

Nainggolan’s transgressions: Five things to know…

  1. Nainggolan joined Inter Milan from AS Roma in summer of 2018 as part of a £33m swap deal.
  2. During his spell at Roma, he infamously posted a video on social media showing him swearing, drinking alcohol and smoking.
  3. His brief time at Inter has been marred by his off-field behaviour. Nainggolan was “temporarily suspended from football activity” for disciplinary reasons.
  4. It capped off a year in which he retired from international duty after Belgium manager, Roberto Martinez, left him out of his World Cup squad.
  5. He’s so far made 21 appearances for Inter and has registered three goals and one assist.

Conscious of his behaviour, and not wanting to get on the wrong side of supporters, Nainggolan has subsequently accepted that his behaviour has been less than satisfactory.

Nainggolan missed Inter’s opening two Serie A matches but on his debut, away to Bologna, he’d create a goal in their emphatic 3-0 win. It would begin a run of seven games before an injury would restrict him to two appearances across six league outings.

Around this period, Nainggolan would start giving manager Luciano Spalletti a headache, reaching boiling point when he arrived late to a fourth training session.

This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and Inter duly sent him away. Nainggolan has since acknowledged his transgressions and confirmed he’s forged a pact with the club to ensure their relationship is a success.

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“I am trying to give my best. The season started a bit badly, as I was never quite at 100 per cent,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“Then there were some problems I had that were nothing to do with football, but we have decided to set out a precise path together with the club.

“We made a pact and are working together. The details will remain in the locker room. I know that I made a few mistakes and did not put in performances that were up to my standards.”

“We have set out a different plan, the club is close to me and now I want to repay Inter by giving my contribution. I’m not at 100 per cent now either and have not been at all this season. I do hope to get into better shape, though,” he added.

“At the age of 30, I had to change a few things and sort some stuff out, above all on a personal level. By finding that calm off the field, I can also work with a clear head.

“Throughout my career, I’ve never had a problem with this, but seeing as I started to get a few fitness worries, I started asking myself some questions. At this moment, the work I am doing thanks also to the staff allowed me to find myself again.”

Nainggolan’s Inter story

Having made his name in Italian football at Cagliari (137 games, seven goals and six assists) and then AS Roma (203 games, 33 goals and 29 assists) many felt Inter were on to a winner, despite his tempestuous behaviour.

So far, he’s featured on no fewer than 21 occasions for the 18-time Serie A champions, with five games missed through injury. During those outings, Nainggolan has bagged three goals and created once for his teammates, which came in Inter’s recent 1-0 league victory over Parma – their first win of 2019.

A disappointing second half of their Champions League group campaign saw them usurped by Tottenham Hotspur, who joined Barcelona in the round-of-16, meaning Inter dropped into the Europa League and will face Austrian club Rapid Wien for a last 16 place.

Following their return from the Austrian capital, Inter, who sit third in the current Serie A standings (albeit 20 points behind leaders Juventus and nine adrift of second-place Napoli) welcome Sampdoria.

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