- Belgium have released their 28-man provisional squad for this year FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer
- AS Roma superstar Radja Nainggolan was excluded in the team squad for the competition
- Roberto Martinez's men will face England in a test game before releasing their final 23-man squad for the competition
Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has announced his retirement from international football after being excluded from the Belgium’s World Cup squad.
The 30-year-old was impressive for his Italian Serie A side in the Champions League after helping them to reach the semifinal round of the competition this year.
He was impressive for the Stadio Olimpico outfit in the recently concluded season – helping them reach the semifinal of the Champions League for the first time, and also finished third on the Italian league table.
But the midfielder was a conspicuous miss in Roberto Martinez’s 23-man contingent to this summer’s event in Russia.
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Having learnt of his exclusion from the Belgium World Cup squad, the Roma midfielder said on social media that: “With a lot of pain in my heart I put an end to my international career.
“I have always done everything to be there and represent Belgium. Being yourself can be damaging. From this day on I will be the first supporter.”
Nainggolan scored twice in Roma’s 4-2 victory over Liverpool in the second leg of their UCL semifinal clash, but were edged out 7-6 on aggregate to crash out of the competition earlier this month.
However, Martinez, whose side are drawn in the same group with England in Group G didn’t even give the 30-year-old a chance in his 28-man preliminary group.
The midfielder was after the international break fined £1,400 and banned following an international match against Greece last year.
Belgium will face Portugal, Egypt and Costa Rica test games before announcing his final 23-man squad after the first friendly.
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On his decision to drop Nainggolan, Martinez said that:
“Radja is a top player. The reason is tactical. In the last two years the team has worked in a specific manner. Other players had those roles. We know that he has a very important role in his club and we cannot give him that role in our squad.”
Belgium get their campaign underway against Panama on June 18, with Tunisia up next five days later.
The huge clash with England is set for June 28 and the match is expected to decide which of the favourites tops the group.
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Nainggolan, who helped his side beat Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal clash in Rome did not even make the 28-man provisional squad.
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