World Cup 2018: Belgium's Radja Nainggolan quits internationals after squad omission

Radja Nainggolan
Radja Nainggolan has made 29 appearances for his country

Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has announced his international retirement after being left out of Belgium's World Cup squad for this summer's tournament.

The 30-year-old helped Roma reach the Champions League semi-finals but did not make manager Roberto Martinez's initial 28-man squad for Russia 2018.

Belgium are in England's group and a squad including 15 Premier League players will be cut to 23 on 4 June.

"Radja Nainggolan is a top player. The reason is tactical," said Martinez.

"In the past two years the team has worked in a specific manner. Other players had those roles.

"We know Radja has a very important role in his club and we cannot give him that role in our squad."

Nainggolan responded by on social media website Instagram,external-link posting: "Very reluctantly my international career comes to an end.

"I've always done everything I could to represent my country."

Among the England-based players are Manchester City duo Kevin de Bruyne and Vincent Kompany, Chelsea forward Eden Hazard and Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.

There had been doubts over a place for Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke but he has made the initial squad, along with Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi.

Batshuayi went on loan to German side Borussia Dortmund in January, but suffered an ankle ligament injury in April.

Liverpool forward Divock Origi - who spent the season on loan at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga - and Everton winger Kevin Mirallas, who joined Greek side Olympiakos on loan in January, both miss out.

"Every player in the squad has got a different level of fatigue. That is why we will start the preparation with 28 players," added Martinez.

Italian football journalist James Horncastle said on the BBC Euro Leagues Football Show: "Radja doesn't feel it's personal. He's been gracious and said he's Belgium's number one fan. There's a history there. Even if he'd been having a great season, it would be difficult for him to get in that squad."

Belgium squad:

Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Matz Sels (Newcastle United).

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles FC), Christian Kabasele (Watford), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Jordan Lukaku (Lazio), Thomas Meunier (Paris St-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur).

Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian).

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Nacer Chadli (West Brom), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United).


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