‘Ronaldo still scores every week…’

Radja Nainggolan doesn’t accept Cristiano Ronaldo is on the decline. ‘The only thing I see is that he scores every week…’

Nainggolan and Ronaldo will be on opposite sides when Roma host Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday, and the former holds the latter in high regard.

“The only thing I see is that he scores every week,” Nainggolan told Marca when asked if the Portuguese had passed his best.

“If he’s no longer wanted, nice, he can come to Roma. We’ll welcome him. It’s normal to question the great players.

“They’re world stars and you blame yourself for them being so good. He’s exceptional. Cristiano and Lionel Messi generate so much expectation around the world that when they drop a bit, people complain unfairly.

“We’re fortunate to have this constant competition between them. It’s normal that when one is better, the other isn’t. All day we compare what they do. They’re great professionals who can score and win a game.”

Nainggolan was asked about Messi’s penalty pass against Celta Vigo and took no issue with the showboating.

“It’s football. He could do it when it’s goalless, others would hesitate at 5-0,” he argued.

“He’s a champion. It was an unexpected move, but strategic. Barca had prepared it. They have that much character. Maybe more than football itself. They’re geniuses for daring to do this kind of thing, and it went well.”

Nainggolan was responsible for the challenge that ended Rafinha’s season when Roma played Barca, but says he and the midfielder are on good terms.

“I sent him a message and he thanked me. My hope is that he returns as soon as possible,” he said of the stricken Barca midfielder.

“He’ll be ready again soon. I was very emotional. He was going for the ball and I hit him in the other leg. This is our job and tomorrow it could happen to me. I hope not. It can happen to anyone. Football is a contact sport.”

Tags Cristiano Ronaldo Radja Nainggolan Roma