A. S. Roma

Belgium announce provisional squad: Star player retires after shocking exclusion

Belgium has announced their 28-man provisional squad for the FIFA World Cup, but the shocking exclusion of midfielder Radja Nainggolan has forced the Roma star to announce his retirement from international football.

The Red Devils boast one of the most complete squad for the upcoming World Cup and their attacking prowess was on the show as manager Roberto Martinez announced the 28 names before final selection.

Nainggolan ignored:

In the squad which otherwise looks ready to fight for the trophy, exclusion of Nainggolan comes as a shock to many. The midfielder had a great season for Roma, reaching the semi-final of the Champions League. But his supposed ‘bad-boy’ image has cost him the place in the squad.

Roberto Martinez explained Nainggolan’s exclusion as a tactical decision in the press conference. “First and foremost, we all know Radja is a top player, there is no question about that,” said the manager.

“It is a tactical reason. In the last two years, the team has worked in an offensive way, in a very specific manner. In the case of Radja, we all know he has a very important role at club level and I don’t think we can give him that in the national team.”

But Nainggolan did not take the exclusion lightly and announced his retirement from the international football immediately. The 30-year old tweeted his decision for the fans. He has scored 6 goals in 30 appearances for Belgium.

Belgium’s 28-man squad:

Other than the midfielder’s exclusion, Belgium’s squad has a number of quality players in each department. Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois will start between the goal while Premier League’s renowned defenders Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen will be crucial in the defense.

The Red Devils will also have the in-form players from the Premier League in the midfield. Kevin De Bruyne will be expected to create goals for Belgium’s deadly attack. Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele will be important to control the pace in the midfield.

Belgium’s attack is definitely one of the most lethal in the World Cup with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Eden Hazard playing upfront.

Belgium will face Panama on 18th June to start their campaign. They will face Tunisia and England in the remaining fixtures of Group G.

Author’s Take:

Nainggolan’s omission is really difficult to understand. No matter what tactics you use, a player like him will always be crucial in the midfield. It is also understandable that Nainggolan is frustrated with the decision which explains his retirement call. But the midfielder has a lot of football left in him.

But with the squad that Belgium has, expect them to be a real threat in the World Cup.

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