Radja Nainggolan did not mince his words when reflecting on his recent experience at Royal Antwerp and touched on his low-cost contract at SPAL.
The 34-year-old Belgian midfielder did not have a particularly positive 18-month spell with his hometown club, showing brief flashes of brilliance amidst an otherwise anonymous run with the side.
Nainggolan was suspended back in October after openly smoking an e-cigarette on the bench
in a 3-0 loss to Standard Liege, an act that signalled the end of his time with Royal Antwerp. The former Roma
man joined Serie B side SPAL in January on a six-month deal.
Speaking to the Antwerp Gazette, Nainggolan shared his frustrations over his 18-month spell with Royal Antwerp.
“They treated me like a parasite, a piece of sh*t… When I was put in the B team the players then tried to convince Overmars to keep me with the A team, it was a good thing for me, but nobody really dared to go against Gheysens (the Royal Antwerp president, ed.).
“I continued to do my best in the B team, tried to support those young guys and made no mistakes there. But how I was treated in the last weeks there, I have never seen that before. And I have been in many places.
“I couldn’t go in the main entrance anymore, I could only go in at times when the first team wasn’t there, I had to go to a different locker room every day, I was treated like a pest.
“At one point my watch was even stolen because the young players were constantly going in and out of that locker room.”
The 34-year-old Belgian midfielder then expressed his bitterness towards Royal Antwerp and why he left for SPAL in the January transfer window.
“My daughters were one of the main reasons why I returned to Belgium. Whereas before I only saw them during holidays, since I returned to Antwerp, they have lived with me full-time again. Everyone knew quite well how important this was for me.
“So, I wanted to stay in Belgium, for my daughters. To do that, however, I would have had to leave more money. It wasn’t a problem, here at SPAL I play for ‘peanuts’, but for seriousness. Gheysens forced me to leave Belgium after I had already lost a million.
“He just wanted me out of the country. He’s a great businessman, but that’s where it ends. That Antwerp took away my enjoyment of football, but I’ll get it back. But I will never forgive him for having to leave my daughters behind.”
Nainggolan has made five Serie B appearances for SPAL since his arrival in January, scoring one goal and providing one assist in that time.