Radja Nainggolan has confirmed that he will be leaving Roma for Inter Milan, although he insists it was not his choice.
The Belgian midfielder is set to join the Nerazzurri for a fee of €24 million with Davide Santon and Nicolo Zaniolo both heading in the opposite direction.
He has repeatedly turned down the opportunity to leave Roma, rejecting advances from Chelsea and Chinese clubs in the past, but he has told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport that he has practically been shown the door by the club this summer.
“I will always carry every moment I spent with the Giallorossi colours and the fans in my heart,” he said. “I leave after having given everything for Roma over these magnificent seasons.
“I want to thank each and every fan for these seasons together. They supported me all the time and showed me great affection, and I will never forget them.
“The decision to leave wasn’t down to me, it’s a decision taken by the club which I’ve respected.”
Nainggolan will link up again with his former coach Luciano Spalletti, who he says has made him feel wanted again after being snubbed by Belgium for the World Cup and invited to leave by Roma.
“Inter wanted me more than anybody, I can only thank them,” he added. “Now I get to work with Spalletti again, who is a great coach and I’m delighted to work with him again.”
The pair worked together for 18 months from January 2016. Nainggolan totalled 203 appearances for Roma, whom he joined from Cagliari in January 2014, turning down an offer from Inter at the time.
The 30-year-old is due in Milan next week to undergo a medical and agree terms on what is expected to be a three-year deal.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.