Ex-Roma Midfielder Nainggolan: “The Lazio Fans Begged Me Not to Play the Derby”

Former Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan looked back at his time facing Lazio in the Derby della Capitale.

Speaking in an interview with Belgian media outlet Sport/Voetbalmagazine (via LazioNews24) earlier today, the 33-year-old Royal Antwerp midfielder discussed the derby against the Biancocelesti, his time with the Giallorossi and his time in Rome.

I was never satisfied with my level. I always wanted to become stronger. At Roma I wanted to win a trophy for the club. That shirt became my second skin. I played the semi-finals of the Champions League there and I felt important.

The Lazio fans begged me not to play the derby when I met them in the city, I was a great player for them too. Honestly, when I arrived there I didn’t think I would reach that level. I spent my best years there. The atmosphere was perfect for me as a human being.

They only judge you by what you do on the pitch, and that’s where I always felt at home. Everything I did outside was accepted.

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The 33-year-old Nainggolan spent four years with Roma, from 2014 to 2018. In that time, he made 203 appearances for the club, for a total of 16,682 minutes, scoring 33 goals and providing 28 assists.

During his four years with Roma, Lazio won only one of the 10 derbies played, a 3-1 win in August 2017. The Giallorossi won six of these, with the other three being draws.

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Since Nainggolan’s departure, the Biancocelesti have won three of the six derbies played, with Roma winning one and the other two being draws.

The next Derby della Capitale will be played on 20th March, a game that could be decisive in the race for European qualification.

Tags Biancocelesti Derby Della Capitale giallorossi Italy Lazio Nainggolan Radja Nainggolan Roma Rome Serie A