Radja Nainggolan (left) has been banned indefinitely by Royal Antwerp after smoking on the bench prior to their 3-0 defeat at Standard Liege in the Belgian Pro League on Sunday


Ex-Belgium midfielder Radja Nainggolan is suspended indefinitely by Royal Antwerp after being caught smoking on the BENCH before their 3-0 defeat at Standard Liege – days after being arrested for driving without a licence

  • Radja Nainggolan was caught smoking an e-cigarrette on the bench before Royal Antwerp played Standard Liege in the Belgian Pro League on Sunday
  • Last week the 34-year-old was arrested for being behind the wheel when his driver’s licence had expired
  • The ex-Belgium international will now endure an indefinite suspension by club

Radja Nainggolan has tried to distance himself from his ‘bad boy’ image but he hasn’t done himself any favours after being banned indefinitely by Royal Antwerp.

The former Inter Milan and Roma midfielder has been punished for his general behaviour – following two misdemeanours within days.

Nainggolan was arrested last week for being behind the wheel when his driver’s licence had expired and was seen smoking an e-cigarette on the bench ahead of Sunday’s 3-0 loss at Standard Liege.

Radja Nainggolan (left) has been banned indefinitely by Royal Antwerp after smoking on the bench prior to their 3-0 defeat at Standard Liege in the Belgian Pro League on Sunday

Radja Nainggolan (left) has been banned indefinitely by Royal Antwerp after smoking on the bench prior to their 3-0 defeat at Standard Liege in the Belgian Pro League on Sunday

He came off the bench at half-time against Liege, but was unable to turn the match in his side’s favour after they conceded three goals in the opening 10 minutes. 

Nainggolan’s latest indiscretion was the final straw, with the Belgian Pro League team taking swift action on Monday.

‘Clear agreements have also been made about what our club does and does not expect from the player,’ Royal Antwerp said in a statement.

Antwerp, second in the First Division a point behind KRC Genk, added that 34-year-old ex-Belgium international Nainggolan and the club would not comment further as the team focuses on preparing for games against KV Oostende and Genk.

However, Nainggolan said on his Instagram account that he was very sorry for what he had done.

‘The club has made a decision I can only accept, even though I think it might be a bit too severe for me. But I will try to contribute in one way or another,’ he added.

Nainggolan (centre) was arrested last week too for being behind the wheel when his driver's licence had expired too

Nainggolan (centre) was arrested last week too for being behind the wheel when his driver’s licence had expired too

Nainggolan is a known smoker and speaking in May 2020 his old team-mate at Roma Leandro Castan revealed he would leave their team dressing room to smoke with the assistant manager.

‘He arrived from Cagliari and I knew little about him at the time. But, right on his first match, he would tackle an opponent with class before kick starting an attacking move, then I knew what calibre of player he was,’ Castan told Goal.

‘He’s a fine player, but unfortunately he’d get into a lot of controversy.

‘When he was at Roma, he’d leave the dressing room to have a smoke with the assistant manager, he did what he pleased and wouldn’t care what people would think of it.

‘But he would then go and deliver on the pitch, where it matters. It was great to play alongside him.’

When at Roma (pictured in action in 2018), he used to smoke with the assistant manager - according to former team-mate Leandro Castan

When at Roma (pictured in action in 2018), he used to smoke with the assistant manager – according to former team-mate Leandro Castan

Speaking on his own reputation in 2018, Nainggolan defended his smoking habits and refuted his ‘bad boy’ reputation.

‘I can tell you that I am just a normal person and not a bad boy as many people label me,’ Nainggolan told France Football. 

‘I can walk about in the worst neighbourhoods and live in a normal way. I can accept the favours that are given to the players, but it does not mean that I look for them.

‘I shop at the supermarket, I can drink and smoke a cigarette with serenity. Even a footballer can smoke, even if they do not have a “normal” job.’

The 34-year-old has always defended his smoking habits and refuted his 'bad boy' reputation

The 34-year-old has always defended his smoking habits and refuted his ‘bad boy’ reputation

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