'I was about to explode' - Nainggolan hits out at Belgium after Martinez snub

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The midfielder was outraged when he found out he had been overlooked by the Rode Duivels boss, prompting him to end his relationship with the team

Radja Nainggolan has claimed he is stepping back from international football after criticising Roberto Martinez over his Belgium snub.

Belgium head coach Martinez named his squad for World Cup qualifiers against Gibraltar and Greece but there was no room for Roma star and 29-cap veteran Nainggolan.

De Rode Duivels 16/1 for WC glory

Instead, Martinez recalled Steven Defour and included the likes of Monaco recruit Youri Tielemans and Axel Witsel, who is now based in the Chinese Super League.

Nainggolan has not been a regular starter for Belgium since Martinez's appointment last year and the 29-year-old took aim at the former Everton boss as he called time on his international career.

Radja Nainggolan Belgium

"He called me at 11.00 [one hour before the squad announcement] and said he had the impression I was not focused enough on playing for the Red Devils during the World Cup matches in June. I was about to explode when I heard that," Nainggolan told Het Nieuwsblad.

"I am going to stop international football now. It makes no sense. He calls Youri Tielemans who is sitting on the bench and playing only a few minutes at Monaco.

"When he was appointed, Martinez said that the Red Devils must play in top competitions. Now that Axel Witsel is in China, suddenly that doesn't apply anymore. That's all fine, but I have to step up my game? Come on.

"Actually, I was in the same restaurant as Martinez in Ibiza. He did not say hello or goodbye, neither did I. How can you work together like that?"

Nainggolan added: "It makes no sense to continue with international football. I played 52 games for Roma, who were second in Serie A last season. I always do my best, work with the team, still there is always something, some reason to leave me out.

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"I won't do this anymore. I quit. I am 29 years old and they won't let me go any further than this. I'm sorry, but that's just how it is.

"I'm being pushed into this situation, so fine, now everything I do is for Roma."

 

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