I turned down Man Utd and got banned for smoking on the BENCH

Belgium star Radja Nainggolan has made a new move at a club run by Indonesia’s national police.

The former Roma, Inter Milan and Cagliari midfielder was a free agent after leaving Italians SPAL in the summer.

Radja Nainggolan has joined Payangara FCCredit: INSTAGRAM @sabreenadressler @radja_nainggolan_l4
He last played for SPALCredit: Getty

Nainggolan has now signed a contract with Indonesia’s Liga 1 bottom side Payangara FC until the end of the season.

Nicknamed the Guardians, they belong to the Asian country’s police service – and many of his team members serve the Guard.

Born in Antwerp, Nainggolan’s estranged father, Marianus, is Indonesian, and his first name means „king” in the local language.

The 35-year-old said: “I didn’t hesitate for a moment when I saw how keen the club were to sign me.

„I’m starting to miss football, I’m still happy on the pitch and I’m really looking forward to doing it in Indonesia.

„I’ve had a great two weeks here and I’m looking forward to learning more about one of my native countries.

„More than 100 agents contacted me in the past months. But when push came to shove, I found it very difficult to get any offer in writing.”

Capped 30 times, Nainggolan became the biggest signing by a club in Indonesia.

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The football-obsessed South-East Asian nation has only reached the World Cup final once – in 1938, when it was known as the Dutch East Indies.

A Belgian title winner with Antwerp in 2022, Nainggolan will boost his playing career with Indonesia as a travel destination.

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His new Jakarta-based club plays in a 30,000-capacity stadium and goes by the full name Bayangara Presi Indonesia FC.

Nainggolan is known for his successful career in Italy’s Serie A.

He won the league in 2021 as part of Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan side.

During his time at SPAL, he admitted to playing for „peanuts”.

Driving ban

His time in Antwerp was controversial as he first lost his license for drink driving and speeding. One A week in his Antwerp life.

He was later suspended indefinitely for smoking an e-cigarette on the bench.

He was forced to work with the youth team before leaving by mutual consent.

Nainggolan has previously said he can knock down 20 shots the night before a match and play the same.

His career could have taken a different path in 2017 as he rejected moves to Chelsea and Manchester United.

In 2018, he said ESPN FC. „Above all I have to live well and be at a club that plays to win or I’m happy with my life.

„In Italy, you live well – I love the culture and lifestyle here.

„Chelsea paid me too much [while at Roma in 2017] They are a big club, yes.

„But I’m interested in waking up in the morning where I feel good, and at 29, it’s not for me to take back all the respect I’ve earned in Italy for 12 years.

“There are a lot of elements — a lot to evaluate.

„I stayed in Italy with Roma because I wanted to finish in the best possible way. Manchester was there too.

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“There were a lot of things I wasn’t interested in.

„Of course you are admired for your interest, but this is how it is.”

He won the Serie A title while at Inter MilanCredit: Reuters
Nainggolan once turned down Manchester United and Chelsea while at RomaCredit: AFP or licensors

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