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R. Nainggolan

Ex-Inter & Roma star Nainggolan banned indefinitely by Royal Antwerp for smoking on the bench

13:30 BST 18/10/2022
Radja Nainggolan smoking Royal Antwerp
Former Inter and Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has been banned indefinitely by Royal Antwerp for smoking on the club’s bench.
  • Midfielder making unwanted headlines
  • Feels suspension is harsh
  • Makes no apologies for drinking & smoking

WHAT HAPPENED? The 34-year-old former Belgium international has been making plenty of unwanted headlines back in his homeland this season. Having recently been arrested for driving with an expired licence, Nainggolan was spotted using an e-cigarette ahead of Antwerp’s 3-0 defeat to Standard Liege on Sunday.

WHAT THEY SAID: Royal Antwerp have said in a statement on the club’s official website: “RAFC today had a conversation with Radja Nainggolan about his general functioning and about how certain behaviors reflect on the club and the group of players. The club has decided to expel Radja from the A-team indefinitely. Clear agreements have also been made about what our club does and does not expect from its player. Neither player nor club will comment further on this.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Nainggolan has responded to the ban by posting on Instagram: “The club has made a decision I can only accept, even though I think it might be a bit too severe for me. But I will try to contribute in one way or another.”

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WHAT NEXT FOR NAINGGOLAN? The combative midfielder, who has never shied away from his bad boy reputation, has previously told France Football of his off-field antics: “I can drink and smoke a cigarette with serenity. Even a footballer can smoke, even if they do not have a ‘normal’ job.”